Peermont Community Benefit Trust (PCBT), a CSI initiative of Emperors Palace, recently created a sensory garden at Seotloana Primary School in Tembisa . The garden is suitable for all the learners from the Grade R’s through to the Grade 7’s,and gives educators an opportunity to conduct outdoor classes where learners can find out more about the plants and herbs.
“While the garden has added to the greening of the school, the idea is that it can be used as a fun, educational tool”, comments PCBT Manager, Jenny Findlay.“The garden is divided into different sections, namely taste, smell, touch and sound, which allows learners to explore through their senses and learn about nature. The garden creates a safe and developmentally appropriate outdoor learning environment with curriculum benefits, especially with regards subjects like Life Sciences,” adds Findlay.
While children can be hesitant about approaching plants, this sensory garden is an exciting place for them to connect with nature as they are invited to touch, rub, smell and even eat some of the plants.
“We planted easy to grow plants that have interesting textures, striking colours, stimulating aromas, tasty leaves and flowers, with some also creating intriguing sounds. The plants are also hardy, so that it can withstand the children’s constant touch and other challenges experienced in keeping a primary school garden thriving,” says Plantcentric’s Calvin Becker, who designed and installed the garden.
Seotloana Primary School is one of two schools where the PCBT have planted a sensory garden. The other has been created Ntsikana Primary School in Daveyton, and more of these gardens will be established at selected schools in the local area. “One of the main goals of the Trust is to educate and empower learners, and these gardens are a fun, outdoor way to impart knowledge to children of all ages,” Findlay concludes.