If we could secure even more funding our goal would be to build and grow a Sensory garden for all of our users to enjoy, but especially designed for those with sensory issues or disabilities.
This idea has evolved in consultation with therapeutic horticulturalists and professionals who work with children at a psychotherapeutic level. The more hands-on experiential contact children have, the better for their earth connection. As a play professional we have found access to the garden and sensory edible plants enormously helpful in working with children and young people. The ability for a child to engage in nature has a calming effect, allowing them to explore without fear is enormously important. The APE Project are devising a space that can be explored, cultivated and used to create edible food and useable lotions and potions for health giving benefits. In our consultation with the extended community of the playground and talking with children and parents we are aware of a huge deficit and lack of safe space in the natural world. Many of our families are from migrant communities, there is a strong nature connection to the foods, fruits, plants and trees back home but as yet there is quite a large deficit in the current nature connection here in the UK.
For this reason we are looking to develop a thriving garden built up by the children, their families and the wider community. We have many families with SEND children and many that are on the autistic spectrum, we believe the connection to sensory is enormously important. The development of a herb and flower garden will help us to help children engage with their heightened sensory perception.
On site we are looking to develop sensory equipment on the new play structure to help children who struggle with more complex physical equipment. By creating sensory areas around the structure accessible by all will help us increase our benefit for our SEND children here. This will also send out a clear signal for isolated families that this is also for their children. We need to help children with SEND feel more able to engage and fill the site and new play structure with a plethora of easy to engage with playful and musical inventions and unexpected happenings within the structure, mirrors that distort, a large playable wooden xylophone, rhythmic climbable sculptures, fire mans poles, tactile placement of playful tactile objects. Any additional funding will help us fulfil this goal.