Community-wide effort helps with sensory garden for elementary school

The community helps Clearcreek Elementary staff begin work on a sensory garden for the students.

The sensory garden will be used by students in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade, and will be housed in the courtyard as an area for students and teachers to use throughout the school year.

A volunteer work day was held early Saturday morning at the school located at 750 S. Main Street, and representatives from Lowe’s were also there to help. 

A sensory garden is a self-contained garden environment that allows both students and staff to enjoy a wide variety of sensory experiences, helping to stimulate each individual’s senses. 

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Sarah Wilguess--Occupational Therapist, Tina Krukenberg--First Grade Teacher, Amy Parks and Dawn Williams--both Intervention Specialists have all taken the lead on this project, along with help from numerous community volunteers and organizations.

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“We all have different senses we take in that include sight, smell, taste, hearing, or touch. Due to a more sedentary lifestyle nowadays, in the day of technology, our students can sometimes come to school missing key components of filling their sensory buckets. When these sensory buckets don’t get filled, in order to balance the child out, we can often see more needs within the school setting. A sensory garden opens the door for these buckets to be filled,” said Wilguess.

Krukenberg continued, “Within a typical classroom environment, our students are encouraged to maintain calm bodies and organized minds, in order to be able to transition throughout their day. We feel a sensory garden can further elevate student engagement.”

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The sensory garden will include a water play station, hop scotch for counting numbers, a music wall to allow exploration of different sounds, a vertical Lego wall, a bridge, trees, and a variety of green space. 

“Throughout the sensory garden children can visit various interactive, multi-sensory stations to reinforce their skills needed for the classroom,” said Parks.

Williams continued, “The sensory garden will also be a space where students who may become overwhelmed with noise to have accessibility to a space that provides peace and quiet in order to calm them. The sensory garden experience will allow students to be more successful academically, emotionally, and socially.”

Fundraising, donations, and volunteer work has been a large contributing factor in the development of the sensory garden.

The school hopes for the garden to be finished by October or November. Following the completion, a ribbon cutting and celebration ceremony will be help. The date for that is not yet known.

For more information, visit the Clearcreek Elementary Sensory Garden Facebook page.

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