Project Plan

Building an Inclusive Sensory Garden



1. Areas of learning and development:


This project is designed to meet the following areas of learning and development for children aged 30 to 50 months:


Personal, social and emotional development:


  • This area will be met by fostering a sense of self-pride that comes with observing the changes that take place in a garden and the sense of accomplishment when it is time to harvest.

  • They will be given various responsibilities in this project and will learn the importance of each duty- intended to connected the child more closely to the project and build self-confidence in completing various tasks.

  • Positive learning dispositions may be heightened through teamwork, cooperation and a sense of belonging.


    Communication, language and literacy:


  • Children will be encourage to communicate their existing schemas related to gardening and build on this knowledge. There will be many new concepts discussed.

  • Vocabulary will be learned for both native and EAL children. Field work will involve constant communication and understanding. 

  • Opportunities to discuss operations with children of various ages, parents and gardening professionals have potential to co-construct various experiences.


    Problem solving, Reasoning and numeracy:


  • Children will engage in real-life, active numeracy learning- counting seeds, measuring how far apart they are to planted, mark-making growth and water levels, talking about sizes (such as: bigger, smaller, many, few)


    Knowledge and understanding of the world:


  • Children will have a better understanding of all types of biology such as the environment, garden animal life, plant life cycles, cause and reactions

  • Explore their senses and use their senses to appreciate the nuances found in a garden- wind chimes and windsocks to hear and see the reactions to the wind- various herbs to smell new scents- feel the various textures of the garden- taste the harvested vegetables.

  • Understand the usages of various tools through hands-on, authentic practice. Children will learn the safety of each tool


    Physical development:


  • Develop coordination through various gross and fine motor skill activities

  • Understand the importance of a healthy diet through discussion and related activities


    Creative Development:


  • This project will inspire a variety of related creative expression activities in lesson planning- stories, rhymes, drawings and art projects(making a variety of garden materials found in a garden- wind chimes, windsocks, bird feeders, painted rocks, seed markers, to name a few)



2. Learning objectives


Projected learning objectives related to children aged 30 to 50 months tied into curriculum objectives:


  • Gains confidence to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others as some children are not favourable to getting ‘dirty’, this may be a new experience with positive outcomes


  • Chooses the resources they need for their chosen activities- through explanation of usages for each instrument, the children will choose the tool for the necessary steps of gardening- or not- they may just play with it but they will hopefully get a better idea of what each tool does and how first-hand


  • Take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity- We will discuss the garden at every stage- at times as a class and others with the Senior Kindergarten class as they will have their own garden. The children of both classes will get the opportunity to discuss why they have decided to grow their choice of vegetables and can compare different findings together. The older children will potentially bring new insight to the younger students.


  • Work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules- safety and general rules- such as being careful not to step on the sprouts- will be explained to the children. They will be asked to come up with some rules by themselves which can be illustrated into a key visual and presented near our garden. 


  • Develop own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events- children will be

       encouraged to talk about and discuss what is happening in the garden by collectively creating a story about a garden- this story will be photocopied      and handed out to children later to read to their parents 


  • Handles equipment and tools effectively- safety with the tools will be explained and included in our rule visual.


  • Knows the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet- as a class we will engage in teacher-led activities and role-play emphasising the importance of eating healthy


  • Makes observations of plants and animals- our plant growth will be recorded by the student of the day in a photograph diary which will be compiled at later stages and discussed. We will use our magnifying glasses to find and identify the creatures in our garden.


  • Talks about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments may vary from one another- We can compare the aspects of our garden to others environments such as the beach.


  • Explain why some things occur, and talk about changes- We can compare growing mediums and seed growth to see first-hand the results of our immediate environment. We will conduct experiments such as the celery and food colouring (and different vegetables like napa cabbage and carrots) to discuss changes by comparing different stages. The compost will also show these changes.

  • Monitoring and record-keeping- we will explore different methods of monitoring and                                                                           record keeping such as graphing, mark making and journaling


  • Develops respect and appreciation for nature and the environment- this project is meant to foster an appreciation for the flora and fauna found in the garden and everywhere in nature. They will learn that plants are also living things and how to respect and nurture them                                                                                     


  • Develops an appreciation for the hard work and benefits of being able to grow your own food by speaking with a Canadian farmer (see Collaboration and communication section) and meeting with local Chinese farmers on a real life farm.                                    



3. Indication of weekly activities/experiences


  • The children will take part in the planning process. They will get the opportunity to design the layout of the garden, what should be planted and where it should be planted. Children will have a chance to voice their ideas and listen to others to work towards our garden’s layout. As a class, we will order the tools and seeds we need for our garden. Students will write the seed markers themselves.


  • We will make a chart outlining the various responsibilities and duties to maintain our garden. Each child will have the chance to participate. During the later we will make a survey and discuss which responsibilities they enjoyed and which ones they did not.


  • Students will learn about what plants need to grow. They will be introduced to the various stages of plant growth by germinating the seeds in clear containers, giving a different perceptive on the growth process. We will make a small compost to discuss the decaying part of the plant cycle and use this compost on our garden to help it grow.


  • We will use various methods to record our findings and discuss what changes we see. The students will be asked to predict outcomes, make deductions and inferences on what is happening.


  • We will talk about the needs of different seeds. Do they need full or partial sun- what if we plant some seeds indoors in planters versus outdoors in the ground? How much water does a certain kind of seed need? Temperature requirements (learning to use thermometers)?


  • Growth graphs and charts will be made to help children understand comparing different aspects of plant growth and development. Children will guess which plants will grow faster and describe plant growth at various stages. We will learning to measure growth and discuss our findings on a stored whiteboard file that we may add to throughout the project. Parts of the plants such as seed jacket, roots, stems, leaves, etc will be talked about.

  • We talk about the nutritional importance of fruits and vegetables in our diet. We will use our vegetables to make salads for our parents as a final project. The children will be encourage to use the information we learned to explain to their parents why we should eat our fruits and vegetables.


  • Children will be able to link the new information we learned during this project to the real world when we visit a local strawberry pick-your-own farm. The students will be encouraged to prepare a list of questions for the farmers about the work they do with their much larger garden.


  • These activities will reflect on what the children are interested in learning. When introducing the topic of gardening, the practitioner will ask the students what they are interested in and brainstorm some ideas together.


  • Weekly continuous learning provisions- gardening sensory bins, worm digging bins, mud pie kitchen, soil dough, garden collages and


  • Adult-led activities incorporating curriculum literacy and numeracy goals will be included in lesson planning


  • The Senior Kindergarten class will be doing this project as well. Their garden will be planted beside our class garden and may be used as a reference point for both classes. Both classes will have opportunities to discuss the project during various stages as a class and the two classes together to discuss what they are learning.


  • A skype chat with a female Canadian farmer, avid member of the seed community and in the promotion of local gardening will be held in hopes of bringing new insight on the practices of farming. As there are negative connotations to the farming professions in China, speaking to a passionate professional will instill the values of growing your own food in an environmentally responsible manner and dispel any myth of gender roles in farming.



4. Resources and equipment


The materials will be sourced by the project organizer. The practitioner will present a proposal and budget for the necessary items to the setting administration.


Materials for the garden are-


  • garden shirts and hats- brought from home

  • small tools- shovel, hoes, spades, gloves

  • water cans made by the class(water bottles with holes poked on the top)

  • seeds

  • seed markers (made by us)

  • proper soil

  • Ribbons, windsocks, wind chimes, painted rocks(painted by the children

  • Twine for the hanging vines


This equipment list will grow as the children are asked what is needed in their garden



The area for the garden has been selected by discussions with the setting’s principals and the head of maintenance. The project has been discussed and approved by the essential staff members.



5. Assessment:


The child will be assessed and observed on the following skills and knowledge…


  • Is able to follow directions


  • Begins to use the language of size.


  • Can talk about some of the things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects.


  • Develops an understanding of growth, decay and changes over time.


  • Talks about why things happen and how things work


  • Looks closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.


  • Understands that equipment and tools have to be used safely. Experiments with blocks, colours and marks.


  • Realises tools can be used for a purpose.


  • Begins to be interested in and describe the texture of things.


  • Uses simple tools and techniques competently and appropriately.


  • Selects tools and techniques needed to shape, assemble and join materials they are using.


  • Knows information can be relayed in the form of print.


The main types of assessments will be narrative, time/event sampling- capturing similar tasks performed over different periods of time, journaling and some grid assessments depending on the activity and measurable outcome. Children’s answers to open-ended questions and hypothesizes will be observed and recorded.



6. Strategies for evaluating the project


  • The main goal of this project is to affect positive learning dispositions by motivating children to enjoy learning through different aspects of gardening. There is no empirical way to measure these outcome, therefore children will be asked to give feedback at various stages for various tasks. Narrative observations will taken to verify the effectiveness of this project. Their reactions to different parts of the project will be recorded for future amended and recommendations for subsequent usage of this project.


  • Separate surveys will be issued to colleagues, parents and children to provide more specific feedback, critique and suggestions


  • A short video will be provided upon completion of this project for assessment and keepsake for all involved in this project.


  • The project will be self-assessed and reviewed by colleagues at various stages. A Daily Post-it Note assessment (see section)will be kept in addition to longer evaluations and written reports.






Reference List


Department of Education (DofE) (2011) Families in the Foundation Stage. United Kingdom: Department of Education.

Drummond, Mary Jane. (2003) Assessing Children’s Learning 2nd ed. London: David Fulton Publishers.

MacNaughton, G. (2003) Shaping Early Childhood. New York: Open University Press.

Rodger, R. (2012) Planning an Appropriate Curriculum in the Early Years: A guide for early years practitioners and leaders, students and parents, 3rd ed. Oxon: Routledge.

Siraj-Blatchford, I., Sylva, K., Muttock, S., Gilde, R. and Bell, D. (2002) Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years (REPEY), London: Department for Education and Skills.

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