MARTINSVILLE, VA – Albert Harris Elementary School celebrated its new sensory garden with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday.
The garden was funded by a grant from the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia.
It was installed as part of AHES’ Green Schoolyard initiative, a partnership between the school and the Dan River Basin Association.
The garden, which stimulates all five senses, has wind chimes for students to hear, herbs and vegetables students can taste, a rock garden and sandbox they can touch, a bird feeder to attract birds for students to see, and flowers for them to smell.
“It can be used by children of all educational abilities,” said DRBA Education Outreach Manager Krista Hodges while explaining that calming colors were deliberately chosen when designing the garden. “I guarantee if you spend five minutes in this garden, you will feel the calming effect… ”
First and second grade students helped to plant the garden and they will also help maintain it.
“Our sensory garden was created to provide a unique learning environment for our students,” said STEM teacher Laurie Witt, who has helped champion the Green Schoolyard initiative. “Teachers and counselors can use the garden while teaching Virginia social and emotional learning standards. The garden also correlates with many of the standards that are set out by the VDOE (Virginia Department of Education) for science.”