Rainbow Garden dazzles as new sensory space
Dazzling colours, a trickling water feature and a ball roll game are just some of the highlights National Star students can enjoy in a new sensory space at Ullenwood.
The Rainbow Garden was built as a way to enable young people with disabilities to interact and engage with a range of sensory activities outside of the classroom.
‘It’s recognised that sensory activities are really useful for the development of young people, and a lot of learners here access different sensory activities as part of their educational programme,’ said Susanne Jeffries, Head of Assessments.
‘We decided that we could really do with having some additional space and some additional activities for people to be able to access – including in the evenings and on weekends – to broaden the breadth of our offer. Learners can not only interact with their environment but also de-stress and have time to process what they have been learning.’
The garden, which is located close to Ullenwood’s on-site Sensory Garden, boasts a water fountain, grass covered benches, bubble mirror, ball roll game and a wall that displays a range of sensory objects. Its multi-coloured roof makes it weather proof and provides a distinctive rainbow hue.
National Star’s Estates team got creative when it came to building the garden, and it includes a number of re-purposed materials, including offcuts of astroturf and pieces of guttering.
‘We tried to recreate some of the things you can purchase in the shops so it was more cost effective,’ said Adam Hockaday, Head of Building and Site Services.
‘We spoke to lots of different teams and explored lots of different types of sensory integration. I think it’s going to work really well with the students.’
The Rainbow Garden is now open and can be enjoyed by both students and staff. As there is still some space left on the garden’s activity wall for new features, National Star is inviting members of the public to share their ideas on social media for what could be added.
‘There are still some spaces on our activity wall, so there’s an opportunity to fill up those spaces with more sensory activities,’ said Susanne.
‘If anybody’s got any ideas about what we might put up there, what students might benefit from, let us know about your suggestions!’