Sensory Garden at our Maitland Childcare Centre

Story House Early Learning Maitland has created a sensory garden as part of their recent playground upgrades. Situated in our big yard, the sensory garden is a place for our children to explore and connect with the natural world through their senses.

What is a sensory garden?

A sensory garden is a self-contained space that uses plants, flowers, herbs and other elements to stimulate the senses using texture, shape, colour, scent and sound. Appealing to young children, sensory gardens support a child’s connection to nature, inviting them to see, hear, smell, touch and taste the plants within.

Benefits of a sensory garden in childcare

Sensory motor development

Sensory gardens are designed to stimulate children’s senses as they interact with their environment, developing an understanding of the world around them. They help develop fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination and balance as children engage in digging, planting and watering.

Learning about nature

Through gardening, children learn about different plants and what each one needs to grow. They learn about birds, insects, seasons and the weather, developing care and respect for the environment.

Develops dispositions for learning

Sensory gardens provide children with opportunities for exploration and discovery, developing their confidence, curiosity, creativity, cooperation and commitment and fostering a love of learning. 

Our natural play space

Story House Maitland is uniquely situated on one acre of natural outdoor play space in which our children are able to follow their own play interests with energy, enthusiasm and curiosity. This space provides our children with the freedom to create, explore and imagine using nature as an essential element in their play and learning. It also provides valuable opportunities for our children to engage in shared play and exploration of nature, developing an understanding of their role in caring for the environment.

Early growth

Recently, our Maitland childcare centre has been working towards the creation of a sensory garden with our Preschool 1 children (3-4 years) leading the tending and care of our newly planted garden beds.  

Working alongside their educators, the preschool children are learning about each of the flowers, herbs and vegetables as they place them into the planter beds. 

They are developing their ability to work collaboratively towards a common goal and are enjoying getting their hands dirty as they learn about the interdependence of people, plants and animals.  

They are learning about the importance of sunlight, soil and water in growing healthy plants and this learning is being extended into discussions about their own physical health and wellbeing needs. 

Although our garden is still quite young, our children are eagerly awaiting the time their herbs and vegetables are ready to be used by our in-house cook in creating delicious meals and snacks to share with the whole Story House family. 

References

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/gardening-for-children

https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/learn/living-learning/primary-school-resources/school-garden-ideas/creating-a-sensory-garden

Let their learning story start with us.