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Nursery children and plants


Hi all, I am a Nursery teacher and have a lovely outdoor border and small round patch of soil that I would like to fill with sensory plants for my little treasures to enjoy. I would like the plants to change through the seasons and want the children to be able to see something interesting throughout the seasons. However I cannot have anything that has berries on for obvious reasons. My border is next to the road so would like something to grow up to about four feet within there. I would like lots of nice smells for them to enjoy. Can anyone help PLEASE!!!! I am not a gradner myself but feel I owe it to the children to give them experience of a wonderful garden environment. My husband and I have built a 2 mtr by 3 mtr garden plot for them to get into and dig and grow veggies so I hope to be planting something in there soon with the help of the children. They will get so much from growing things from scratch as lots of them think that vegetables come from Asda!!!!!!! I will need to look into this and see what will be quick growing for them to watch.
Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this, I appreciate it

More blog posts by katiecar



Your idea for an outdoor sensory garden sounds wonderful and a marvellous project for the children in your nursery class to look after and enjoy.

I am a retired Primary Headteacher. Can I suggest that you now contact your local education authority or Council and discuss your ideas and plans, and I'm sure they will be able to give you up to date advice and support with regards to the type and choice of plants that you can use in the garden. You have to bear in mind that some children and adults may have an allergic reaction to some plants if they handle them, and the pollen and perfume from some can be irritating as well. You have also mentioned the possibility of berries or fruits being a potential hazard. PLEASE DON'T BE PUT OFF but it's best to seek the most up to date advice from the experts before you proceed, and you can then go ahead with the knowledge that you have the support of the Council officers. I'm sure they will also be able to undertake a site visit as well. It's worth taking this bit of extra time in order to ensure that everyones needs are being met.

The Health and safety officers will be able to help I'm sure along with the Councils parks department. They may well be able to help you with some plants to start things off. I could offer you ideas on some plants, but would rather you seek the most up to date advice first. Good luck and best wishes with this worthwhile project.Please let us know how things progress.

25 Jan, 2009


An interesting idea there Grenville, of getting the Council to give advice.
However, here I am continually gettng the Council ringing ME (as Chairman of the local Garden Club) about building an allotment for school children/foster children/children with learning difficulties. The really annoying thing is they haven't checked with another department to find there is a THREE YEAR waiting list for allotments!
The last contact was from a woman in the Education Department who claimed she had spent several weeks finding who the contact was. I pointed out the information was on THE COUNCIL WEBSITE!!!

25 Jan, 2009


Hi Katiecar and welcome to the site.
I did this at my home and also for my daughters Pre -School when she was there. There are 5 senses, sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing and it might be good to incorporate all of these elements into the garden. As well as the bed you have created, you can use pots to grow herbs, plants and vegetables in. Pots are a good height for little ones to see things growing.
Some councils also have money available in the budget to provide financial assistance for green space as they call it and if it is an educational cause you will have a good case. Good luck with the beurocracy, you'll need it.
I totally agree with Grenville, Health and Safety is a huge factor and so is liability so it is best to make sure the plants are good and safe to use.

25 Jan, 2009


I had a sensory garden In it I put Lemon verbena it smells great when you touch it It is also one of my favorite smellie plants. Also curry plants and all the different types of mint you can buy. My favorite is Apply mint. peppermint,chocolat mint,the list is end less. You can also grow a plant called a sensory plant when you touch it the leaves all close up like a prayer plant. Children love that. Lambs ears is another plant that is great to touch children would enjoy that one as well . When I go to the garden center I love to go into the herbs and just touch and smell all of them thats the best way to learn about a sensory garden. Let me know how you get on Donna

25 Jan, 2009


Agree with Grenville and Andrea,red tape and H&S are such issues this day and age,Makes sense to check it all out to avoid disappointment. Great idea !

25 Jan, 2009


I'm another ex-Primary Head, and sadly, have to agree with Grenville et al. When you have to undertake a risk assessment just to do something wonderful like this, it makes you wonder whether the country has gone totally mad, doesn't it! Yes, do please get advice before you do ANYTHING!

Is there a local or County Adviser for this area of the Curriculum who could be approached by your Headteacher?

25 Jan, 2009


Oh Spritz isn't it so sad that that you/me/everyone has to get advice before just growing a few plants to show to children. Why was it, I wonder, when I was a child that neither myself nor any of my friends were allergic to anything. I can't believe that picking a bit of lemon verbena
or some rosemary is more dangerous than being glued to a Playstation for several hours.

25 Jan, 2009


Oh Ginellie you are so right. Very few children seemed to be allergic to anything back then. In fact, I remember being the only child with an allergy in my year....I was (and still am) allergic to elastoplast!!
I agree with your observation about Playstation and Wii and other video games. I also have a problem with people saying the most inoccuous things are dangerous and these same people seem to think that the violence and murder that is on the television is perfectly safe for the children to watch. I think our priorities are getting very skewed.

26 Jan, 2009


Just to pick up on the point of allergies .... I have lived in this region of Spain for just over two years and my neighbours and I have gradually grown into a system that we both enjoy - they provide us with wood to be chopped for our fire, animal manure for our garden, plants and seedlings, etc. my partner gives them manual help and I bake cakes, pies, etc. When I first gave them cakes containing nuts I also gave a warning as their grandchildren visit every weekend, and I always received a very strange look as though they were wondering "What IS she going on about?" My own daughter, who lives in Britain, is always careful of the content in food she gives to her children, but I have yet to come across ANYONE here with ANY kind of allergy. I now firmly believe that we have all unwittingly caused these allergies - asthma, eczema etc., with our use of products made with unnatural substances. Spanish tourists visit here, some with young children, and we all often sit together at a barbecue eating food made with natural things, like paella containing prawns, mussels and clams, then tuck into chorizo, ham and pancetta, followed by my cakes containing nuts, chocolate, coffee, jams, in fact anything cakey , and NO-ONE EVER even asks "has that got nuts in only my child is allergic....?"

I don't know the solution to this as, if we all reject anything containing unnatural chemicals, we'd all starve as so much food in shops contains chemicals. I'm just so glad I live in a region where food items come as they were meant to be ... steroid-free pork, chicken and beef from animals who have had a grand life out on the mountain
meadows and fresh LOCAL vegetables in SEASON - no strawberries in December or parsnips in July. Shame we can't all live like this, then I'm sure there'd be no need for people to fear local authorities when they just want to do something lovely and educational for children.

End of tirade!! Sorry it was so long. Best wishes to you and all Good Luck with your project Katiecar.

26 Jan, 2009


In my last year at school, we had NINE children (out of 360) with nut allergies, serious enough for them to have 'Epipens' which contain adrenaline. I had to produce a protocol document (4 sides of A4) for each child which had to be signed by me, the parent, AND the Chair of Governors - then copies had to be the Local Authority, parent, teacher, class assistant, GP, and a copy kept in the school office as well as on file! All this took hours of work, as you can imagine. It was only in my last three years that the allergies started to appear. I went through all the previous years without any signs of allergies apart from the odd hayfever sufferer.

Oh, and about one child out of 8 had some level of asthma, too. Something had changed over those years, hadn't it!

26 Jan, 2009


Good luck with your project.

26 Jan, 2009


I support Spritz with her experiences as a Primary Headteacher and I also followed the same procedures when I was head of a primary school.Although the procedures were time consuming, they were there to act as a 'safety net' for the pupils and school staff.

Also I think we have become much better at recognising the dangers and symptoms of allergies and medical research has made so many advances over the last few decades. We simply didn't know about them when I was a child.

26 Jan, 2009

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