Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sensory Gardens

Ashley's teacher told me today that she would like to establish a sensory garden at school, and I am very excited about that! Here's how wikipedia defines a sensory garden:

A sensory garden is a garden or other plot specifically created to be accessible and enjoyable to visitors, both disabled and non-disabled. The purpose of such a provision is to provide individual and combined sensory opportunities for the user such that they may not normally experience.

A sensory garden, for example, may contain features accessible to the disabled individual such as: scented and edible plants, sculptures and sculpted handrails, water features designed to make sound and play over the hands, textured touch-pads, magnifying-glass screens, braille and audio induction loop descriptions. Depending on the user group, other provisions may integrate sound and music more centrally to combine the play needs of younger users with their sensory needs.

Many sensory gardens devote themselves to providing experience for multiple senses; those specialising in scent are sometimes called scented gardens, those specialising in music/sound are sound gardens where the equipment doubles up to provides an enhanced opportunity for strategic developmental, learning and educational outcomes.

Sensory Gardens usually have an enhanced infrastructure to permit wheelchair access and meet other accessibility concerns; the design and layout provides a stimulating journey through the senses, heightening awareness, and bringing positive learning experiences.

And here is some more information from the University of Florida and NC State University:

University of Florida - information on how to build a sensory garden

N.C. State, sensory gardens as an extension of the classroom

Finally, here is a link to a special needs school that has established a sensory garden.
William Carter School, Sensory Garden

I think this is such a good idea, and really hope it comes to fruition. I will post pictures if it does!

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