The Kevin Heinze Sensory Park was designed and created at Dandenong Valley in 1995. The park grew into a large eucalyptus forest that we see today, providing shade for those who visit. Some plants beneath the canopy have survived over time and old plants are replaced with new ones as required.Part of the park's original open grass space was utilised for the addition of the school's multipurpose BER building. In 2011 after the building was completed, the park received a garden makeover by a team of 40 staff from Bunnings Warehouse devoting their time to a community service. They toiled in the rain to revitalise the park and add a few new features. The waterfall was also redesigned and fit with a switch button and a timer for our students to operate.
Click here for some photos (PDF) of the Sensory Park in 2012.
Click here to view Curriculum ideas and activities.
Dandenong Valley School's curriculum initiative of a specially designed sensory park, was a 'first' in Victorian specialist schools. Together with Kevin Heinze, Australia's well known gardener, the park was developed at the school. The Sensory Park is a great school and community resource. The school was proud to have his Excellency, the honourable Richard E. McGarvie, A.C., Governor of Victoria, officially open the park on 11th May, 1995. The park is named after Kevin Heinze as a tribute to his magnificent contribution, through gardening, to children and people with difficulties.
The sensory park benefits students through experiential learning in the park. Children learn through their senses of touch, smell, hearing, sight and taste.
All areas of the curriculum are encompassed through the children’s exciting and stimulating sensory experiences. The sensory park is a novel gardening approach to curriculum. (Picture: Mr. Kevin Heinze planting with students during the park's official opening)
IntroductionSurrounded by a mini forest of lemon scented gums and perfumed trees, a sensory world awaits the learner and explorer.
Fragrant and edible herbs, coloured and sweet smelling flowers, special scrunchy and smooth plants, water worn pebbles and rough rocks, whistling birds and rustling grasses welcome the visitor.
The school invites other school children, its neighbours and community members to share its sensory park. Pathways and garden beds are specifically designed for safe and easy wheelchair access.
SeatingA variety of seating is found in the park as the learner explores their way around. Seating encourages rest stops and opportunities to admire the different features of the garden. A picnic table, wooden bench seats, a camp site area and large granite boulders offer a range of seating choices.
Main Plants Originally Used in the Garden
Eucalyptus Citriodora (lemon scented Eucalypts)
Lavender – French
Pittosporum Tenuufolium (sweet pittosporum)
Hymenosporum Plauum (Native Frangipani)
Pennisetum Alopecurades (native grasses)
Herbs – Perfumed x 50 per variety Plants in the park are replaced from time to time. In 2019 the park had another makeover with 100s of new shrubs planted for the school's 30th birthday celebrations.
Original Plan of the Sensory Park