Sensory Gardens

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

Curriculum Connections:
MATH
• 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

SCIENCE
• 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

WRITING/LANGUAGE ARTS
• 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

HEALTH
• 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?

SOCIAL STUDIES
• 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.

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