Sensory Play Garden, Primary School, Worcestershire, UK
The creation of a sensory play garden for the 7 senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, scent, proprioception and vestibular
This sensory play garden design is for a school that educates primary school aged children with a range of moderate and severe learning difficulties, and profound and multiple learning disabilities. The sensory garden is an interactive space that is accessed by all children in the school. It therefore stimulates all the seven senses, including the vestibular and proprioceptive senses. The area for the sensory garden measures 9 m x 23 m. This is a garden about texture, sound, movement, balance. This is a garden to encourage attention, foster curiosity and increase opportunities for movement. The design is for all visual planes: up, down, side-to-side, near and far. Whimsical elements embedded in a wall, situated along a textured walkway, attract attention and touch. On the opposite side a woodland walk creates excitement and the perfect spot for wildlife, bird boxes and bug hotels. A multi-coloured canopy with living wall doubles up as an outdoor classroom, while large spheres allow the children to climb, learn and balance. A large architectural tunnel with lights and wind mobiles lead the children on a textural journey with scents and colours to stimulate and calm, into a different zone. An area with outdoor musical instruments and outdoor balance equipment provide rotary and linear movement and balance. Logs of varying heights give the children body awareness, movement, balance or simply rest. Just off this area is a raised kitchen garden, complete with culinary herbs, fruits and vegetables. Growing, listening, touching, stroking, smelling, harvesting, tasting and eating the produce. This gives balance, body awareness and movement: bending and stretching to access the plants, using just the right amount of pressure to use when harvesting produce. Finally, back at the front of the garden is an area for water play and learning.