Anna Ritchie School of Special Education
Our Story: Room 1
The children of Room 1 at the Anna Ritchie School of Special Education would love you to visit their garden stories.
A child with special needs may not be able to connect with a story in the traditional way, but we are happy to tell you OUR story, the story of Room 1. The story for our pocket garden design had to be not one story told to the children or by the children, but several individual stories in which our children would delight and interact.
Many of our children are diagnosed with autism. Synaesthesia in autism is when an individual can see sounds, smell colours, taste shapes, feel sounds and hear colours. We cannot know exactly what or how our children truly experience the world around them, but we can watch and help recreate some of the things that captivate and enchant them in the story of their sensory garden.
The children loved creating the design, with its arches and colour and planting the seeds! You can find our herbs; nasturtiums in leaf, and the tall cornflowers just in bud. We tried eating the edible plants in a pocket garden picnic! We hope the birds and the bees love visiting too!
Playing in the water
A space to write
The story garden is represented in several different upcycled planters which we decorated with scraps of donated quilting material.
Abbi-Leigh loves water, so her planter is a rain collector, bird bath and water source from which the children can play and water the garden.
Alanna loves to climb, so for her, a rainbow walkway mounted on a recycled palette, decorated with locally donated ribbons, upcycled CDs, and class-made, recycled plastic bottle flowers.
Alizah loves to dig! Her planter is full of our home-made compost from our class snack fruit and vegetable waste.
Lewis loves to write so we created blackboards and suspended his on a planter for him to write on as he sits in this sensory space. Libby loves red and dinosaurs, can you spot the dinosaurs in a field of red begonia lava! We included some exploding lava in the form of magnificent fuchsia, kindly donated as a beautiful sensory addition to the plants our children have grown.
Mekyle loves a little sparkle and glamour! We added some sparkly CDs we decorated with even more sparkles, fairy lights and shiny ribbons to captivate him in this outdoor space. He loves sound, so the windmills were a very nice gift. Oliver loves reading; he likes to tap numbers and shapes in books, so we put our faces on a circle for him to tap in our garden. Can you find them all?
Ryan loves to try new sensations, so for him, lots of edible herbs and plants; soft mint, purple basil, velvety multi-coloured violas (which we ate!), crispy, peppery nasturtium, rustling thyme, crinkly parsley, smooth chives and towering cornflowers!
Thanks to our lovely parents for all their donations of flowers, ribbons, plastic bottles, CDs, pots, seeds, windmills, C and A West, Fraserburgh for the ribbons. Thanks to the fantastic staff in Room 1 who bring seeds of love and hope, every single day. Thanks also to Cheryl Lawrence for her help with the photography.
Creating the garden - from design to reality
Photos courtesy of Cheryl Lawrence.