Sensory garden helps local kids enjoy the outdoors and ignite their senses

Published: Oct. 4, 2020 at 9:29 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Parents, you know this all too well. The special moment your child first laughs, first smiles, and even says their first words. That moment is unique, and cherished forever. But each child is different, and some need something more, in order to accomplish these very special firsts. Now there’s something new to help some kids with developmental disorders explore their senses.

With music and a little bit of art, some kids are enjoying the outdoor fun, thanks to a sensory garden. This helps enhance our five senses of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch.

“It’s amazing to see his little personality starting to show and develop,” said Gigi Guilles.

Guilles has a 3-year-old son named Justin who attends the Starfish Academy at the Florida Center for Early Childhood in Sarasota. She says a garden like this one is allowing her son to finally express what’s on his mind.

“Probably for the last four months, my son started to talk, with clear words coming out, so we’ve been very blessed,” she said.

Last month, the center, located on 17th Street, cut the ribbon on this project. It was year in the making and a gift from Leadership Sarasota’s class of 2020.

“It takes a village to help everyone and we’re their village,” said Peggy Kronus, member of Leadership Sarasota

“One in four children have a developmental disability so it’s definitely in our community, in the classrooms and in every family,” said Susan Carney, Principal at the Starfish Academy.

The new garden has raised garden beds with different plants kids can water, grow and smell. There’s also a butterfly garden where they can sit and relax. If you visit the garden, you’ll see a river filled with rocks where the kids can walk on. Additionally, there are flower shaped xylophones where they can sing and play their ABC’s.

“This is truly a labor of love as we like to call it," said Kristie Skoglund, CEO for the Florida Center for Early Childhood. "They really put their heart and soul and thought to what to put out here.”

It’s a labor of love allowing kids like Justin to discover the beauty of the outdoors and the beauty inside them.

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