Kids get feel for gardening

2016-02-16 06:00
 Zoe Mjoli, Likuwe Mgwebu and Yamkela Malgas (standing) from the Zisukanya Early Childhood Development Centre explore their new garden.  PHOTO: astrid februarie

Zoe Mjoli, Likuwe Mgwebu and Yamkela Malgas (standing) from the Zisukanya Early Childhood Development Centre explore their new garden. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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Learners at Athlone School for the Blind can now engage with nature through touch and smell instead of sight.

This as the Botanical Society of South Africa officially launched the sensory garden they created at the school for learn­ers from the Zisukanya Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre.

This was made possible through contributions from MySchool, the Rotary Club of Kirstenbosch and the Redhatters Bridge Club.

Zaitoon Rabaney, executive director of the Botanical Society, says this initiative has an ongoing effect.

As the garden grows and develops the school aims to involve the learners in maintaining the garden at each stage, such as giving the children watering cans and spades to maintain it.

Creating a sense of awareness and responsibility will help it become a space that they don’t just visit but nurture and develop.

“This project speaks to South Africa’s strategy for plant conservation, which emphasise the importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation to be incorporated into communication, education and public awareness programmes,” Rabaney says.

The sensory garden will promote educational opportunities and exposure to biodiversity, not only for the ECD learners but all learners of Athlone School for the Blind, its staff and families.

It is the first step in what the Botanical Society hopes will become a multifunctional garden – a place where the children can play freely, enjoy the tranquility of nature and have picnics with their friends, family and school staff.

Pieter Twine, MySchool’s general manager, says it has been great to support this project and play a part in creating a space for learners with special needs.

“The garden allows students to express their sensory and learning capabilities with a hands-on approach, whilst also promoting the education of healthy eating and environmental awareness,” Twine says.

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