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Garden project builds cooperation

Building and construction students at the Esperance campus undertake outside projects to help them gain experience and complete assessments. In their latest project, they have worked with Esperance Education Support Centre students to create a sensory garden that is being praised by students and staff alike.

The garden includes a concrete viewing platform with access ramp, paths, a wash station and climbing logs. Sensory plants, donated by Esperance Bunnings and Lecturer Leah Goodrem, were planted out by the education support students.

Sensory gardens have a huge range of benefits, particularly for students with autism and intellectual disabilities. These include stimulating sensory awareness, reducing aggressive behaviour, enhancing creativity, reducing stress and anxiety and increasing self-esteem.

Building and Construction Lecturer Kath Brown said it had been a terrific project.

“The sensory garden has been a huge success in terms of breaking down barriers and making a difference. The students worked together to design and implement the sensory garden,” Kath said.

“It was wonderful to see the camaraderie between the education support students and the TAFE students as they worked alongside each other for the concrete pouring, making pavers and during various other collaborative projects,” she added.

“The project has required a team effort from a variety of TAFE student groups including carpentry and joinery apprentices, who are learning about excavations and concreting to simple forms. They will also be designing and constructing a set of external stairs which will tie in with the viewing platform.

“The sensory garden was a great fit for the students’ assessments.”

The garden has been overwhelmingly supported by the community. Donations for the sensory garden have been received from local businesses and individuals in the way of donated plants and building resources and a grant being provided by Southern Port, Esperance to the value of $5000 and the Esperance Shire has also been a great supporter.

There will also be ongoing work in the same garden through the Follow the Dream Program, a nationwide career development program for secondary students.

Sensory garden coordinator Mel Smith has been liaising with staff from the Ricky Grace Girls’ Academy regarding the local Dreamtime stories, which students hope to paint on the raised garden beds.

Page last updated October 21, 2019