A garden rich in experiences
Kintore Street School’s new sensory garden is full of fascinating structures that stimulate students, and helps them regulate and understand their behaviours.
The garden includes gum nut flower stools, a tunnel, two large toadstools, two water spouts, a hand water pump, a xylophone, tubular bells and an Archimedes screw.
Principal of the Katherine-based school, Marg Chamberlain, said sensory gardens provide the stimulation critical to healthy brain development and help children develop important life skills, including emotional government and self-reliance.
“The space is particularly beneficial to children with sensory processing issues such as autism, and helps with anxiety, fidgeting and attention disorders,” she said.
“The sensory garden caters to outside physical activities that bring incredible health benefits, but it is also a calming environment for students who may be feeling overwhelmed or who have experienced trauma.
“It’s a setting that boosts students’ brain power and confidence, helps develop skills, and improves physical fitness, mood and cognition.
“The garden advances students’ fine and gross motor skills, promotes creativity, fires their imagination, and encourages experimentation.”
Plants are yet to be installed, but Ms Chamberlain believes they must be resilient and address all the senses.
“Hardy plants will tolerate a lot of handling by children,” she said. “But they must have interesting textures, aromas, tasty leaves or flowers, be eye-catching or create curious sounds.
“Favoured types are rosemary for smells, bamboo for sounds, sunflowers for sight, geraniums for touch, and nasturtiums for their edible flowers.
“It will be an exciting place for kids to connect with nature, and like the water play part of the garden, lend itself to the discovery and exploration of science and mathematical concepts.”
The garden was established with funds from the school’s annual croc race, the bob along charge of purchased plastic crocodiles down the Katherine River.