Sensory Gardens for Special Education Students
Benefits of a Sensory Garden Include:
• Improves fine and gross motor skills
• Encourages communication and social skills
• Increases self‐esteem
• Promotes responsibility
• Stimulates sensory awareness
• Enhances creativity
• Promotes “hands‐on” and “multi‐sensory” learning
• Helps reduce stress, anxiety, and frustration
• Helps reduce aggressive behaviors
• Can help enhance and support concepts taught in the classroom
• Adapts to many types of curriculum
• Provides opportunities for investigative learning
• Provides a non‐threatening environment
• Creates common ground between students
Tips for Your Sensory Garden:
• Make safety your top priority
• Make sure the garden is accessible and inclusive to all students
• Use tools suited to children or specially adapted tools for children with special needs
• Plan garden related activities often, but for short time periods
• Use plants that are durable and easy to grow
• Let your students participate as much as possible
• Design your garden to meet your student’s needs.
• Keep safety in mind
• Provide plenty of adult helpers
• Have plenty of fluids and sun protection available
• Partner special education students with mainstream students
• Allow time for children to adjust to the sights and smells of the garden
• Balance jobs tha thave instant results, such as weeding and harvesting; with jobs that have longer term results,such as transplanting ors owing seeds.
• Demonstrate gardening tasks for the students before they leave the classroom and once they are in the garden
• How fast does dill grow? – Measure and graph the growth rates of dill plants, make size comparisons
• When will a seed germinate? Use seed catalog/seedpacket information and math to predict when a seed will germinate and how long it will take to mature, predict when a seed would need to be planted in order to be ready for a chosen holiday.
• Compare the sizes of herb seeds?
• Observe and record the air and soil temperatures in your class herb garden?
• Calculate the weight and volume of soil when it is wet and when it is dry.
• Calculate how many sage plants will fit into a 6ft. x 6ft. garden
• Use plants to help you learn about taking measurements
• Learn about fractions by using herbs for cooking
• Dead or alive? – use basil plants to compare the difference between living and non‐living things
• What is pH? – How does pH affect the smell and taste o fbasil, sage, and oregano
• What happens if I water thyme plants with soda or tomato juice?
• Why do herbs smell? – investigate what parts of herb plants cause them to smell
• Plan tidentification – press and label various herb plants ,draw and diagram the parts of a leaf
• Plan tlife cycles – plant seeds and learn about reproductive lifecycles as they grow
• What role have herbs played in the development of modern day medicine? –have the students interview a pharmacist or doctor about the role herbs have played in the developing of medicine ,have them write a written report or give an oral report to share what they have learned.
• Compare and contrast the facts and fiction about various herb plants.
• Write a description of the plants growing in your garden
• Write a letter to your local extension service or botanic garden asking a “plant‐related” question?
• Learn to use the library or internet by researching a certain type of herb or plant
• What role can herbs play in healthy eating?
• Can herbs be used to spice up vegetable dishes?
• Use herbs to learn about how to harvest and preserve food?
• Learn abou tcooking with herbs
• Learn about the role herbs have played in the development of medicine?
• What role have herbs played in different cultures?
• How are herbs used around the world?
• What role have spices played in ancient civilizations?
• Do herbs have economic uses? – examine the ingredien tlabels of various household products to determine if herbs are listed in the ingredients visit the grocery store and look for products that use herbs
CULTURAL ARTS – Music, Art, and Drama
• Paint or draw various herbs and plants
• Perform a play that depicts the life cycle of a sunflower or other plants
• Does Basil like Beethoven? – learn how music affects plant behavior and growth
• Make or decorate claypots for a school plant sale
• Develop advertising skills by designing marketing materials and plan tlabels for a school plant sale.
• Write the lyrics for songs tha tteach about the parts of a plant or the life cycle of a plant Perform the songs for your school.
• Decorate rain barrels for a school plant sale or for use by your school.