Thursday, July 20, 2017

Outreach: Gardening Sensory Story Time

Ed and I visited two groups of students at Wing Lake last month for a little summer-themed story time. The Wing Lake Developmental Center is a year-round school that serves students, ages 3 - 26 years, in Oakland County with severe cognitive impairments (SCI) and severe multiple impairments (SXI). We try to incorporate many multi-sensory experiences in our outreach here, so that each student is able to participate and enjoy the program. With our Read to Seed Garden at the library planted and growing nicely, we decided to bring a bit of the garden with us. Here's what we did:

Welcome: "Today we are learning about seeds, flowers, vegetables and other things that we see in the garden. What do you like about gardens? Do you like to smell the different flowers? Is there a vegetable that you like the most?"
Corn, broccoli, and potatoes seemed to be the favorites of the day.

Song: "This is the Way We Plant the Seeds" (Tune: "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush")
This is the way we plant the seeds
plant the seeds, plant the seeds.
This is the way we plant the seeds so early in the morning.
(continue with "water the seeds," "pull up the weeds")

Story: Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson
This is a nice, interactive story with many multi-sensory opportunities. (We wiggled our fingers to "add some water" - we brought around eyedroppers full of water to let everyone experience the drop of water from the "watering can" in the story. We worked on making our bzzzzing sound when we brought around a bee puppet to everyone, and gave everyone the chance to touch the blossoms from the story when we brought around a couple of flowering plants for the students to touch and feel.)

Flannel Rhyme: "Five Pretty Flowers"

Out in the garden,
growing in the sun,
were five pretty flowers,
and I picked ONE!
(count down until none are left)

Story: Rah, Rah, Radishes!: a Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre
We brought along some veggies for everyone to touch, feel, and smell when we read this story! The garlic was a big hit!

Song: "Up Pop the Flowers!" (Tune: "Pop! Goes the Weasel")
We plant some seeds in the dirt. (Pretend to plant seeds - covering hand with the other hand.)
The rain falls in a shower. (Raise arms and wiggle fingers downward.)
The Sun comes out, and what do you know? (Hold arms in a circle.)
UP pop the flowers! (Lift arms up.)

Craft/Activity: We decorated small cardboard pots, added some dirt, and planted sunflower seeds. Gardening, whether done in the ground outside or in containers/raised beds, is a great activity for everyone of all ages that builds motor skills, understanding of the cause/effect concept, and gives you the satisfaction of pride and accomplishment no matter what your abilities are.