Zensory Garden

Absecon teachers awarded TangerKids Grant to create Zen-sory Garden
Posted on 08/18/2022
Teacher and student read books outside

A new space for learning

ABSECON — Soon, students at Absecon Public Schools will have a new space to learn and grow thanks to a $2,500 grant from Tanger Outlets Atlantic City.

Absecon's District Literacy Coach Barbara Horner and Special Education Teacher Jessica Fey were recently awarded a $2,500 TangerKids Grant to create a Zen-sory Garden at the H. A. Marsh School.

“Congratulations to our very talented staff, Barbara Horner and Jessica Fey, for their innovation and creativity in developing the Zen-sory Garden for our school district,” Superintendent Dr. Dan Dooley said. “This project will help fulfill some of our district objectives: to provide an enriching educational experience and to foster social and emotional learning.”

The Zen-sory Garden will be a space where students and staff can feel welcome and safe, to decompress when needed, and regroup.

“Our students' needs have grown exponentially over the course of the last two years and the staff is grappling with the best ways to address the needs and behaviors they have in their classrooms,” Horner and Fey wrote in the grant application. “By creating a sensory garden that can be used for academic, emotional, physical, and social purposes, the staff and students will have additional resources to address (and improve) overt and covert behaviors.”

Launched in 1996 with the mission of providing funding for schools in the community, TangerKids Grants support the education and future of local youth through a series of programs designed to satisfy the needs of neighborhood schools. Since then, more than $3.1 million in grants and scholarships have been awarded.

New for 2022, Tanger launched the TangerKids member choice awards, asking TangerClub members to vote on their favorite grant starting Aug. 13-28, giving five teachers an opportunity to receive an additional $1,000 in funding for their project. Absecon was selected as one of the Top 10 grant winners to be featured in this additional contest. (TangerClub members can vote for Absecon now through Aug. 28 at TangerOutlet.com.)

The Zen-sory Garden that will consist of zones that engage the individual senses or multiple senses simultaneously. Interesting textures, shapes, scents, and colors will be used in the design, and sounds of tranquility will be attained through calming water sources, wind chimes, and bird feeders.

Rocks, pavers, furniture, and other objects will be incorporated into the design for tactile stimulation or de-escalation depending on the zone the objects are located in. The goal is to improve students’ behaviors’ and promote learning.

The students will help to create and fill the Garden space throughout the year.

“Including students in the project will help ensure the sustainability of the garden and promote the core values of the project,” Horner and Fey wrote. “Moreover, the students will gain a sense of place with the completion of a school beautification project, and a safe and productive learning environment.”

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