Cleveland High School plans sensory garden

Cleveland High School plans sensory garden

April 8th, 2012 by Randall Higgins in News

Cleveland High School Principal Autumn O'Bryan

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Some Cleveland High School teachers plan to build a sensory garden as a learning place for special-needs students.

About half the estimated $8,000 needed has been raised by appeals to the community. Now the teachers will be asking fellow educators directly for contributions.

"We originally went to the private sector and we did really well, raising almost 50 percent," said Principal Autumn O'Bryan.

The original plan was to have a place where students with special needs could learn through their senses. Colorful and edible plants, a water feature and other items would be included in the garden.

But teachers now see the garden as a learning opportunity for every student at the high school, from art to science.

"It is kind of a learning lab outside," said Archie Crossland, the school's extended resources teacher. "There's just something about getting some dirt under your fingernails that brings everybody together."

O'Bryan said school representatives have been talking to parents and civic and garden clubs about developing and maintaining the garden.

The garden is the next step after the high school installed a sensorium, funded by a grant, in 2010. The sensorium uses sensory learning aids for students with intellectual, emotional and physical disabilities.