A new sensory garden being developed as part of an overhaul of Loreto College's wellbeing precinct will give students a quiet, private place to take time out or get the support they need.
An under-utilised part of the grounds outside an area being redeveloped as a school counselling and learning hub will be transformed in to a space that will stimulate the senses.
The garden will include water fountains, ground covers, plants that stimulate all five senses and seating options which include wraparound chairs often favoured by students with autism.
"The sensory garden is ideal for anyone when they are just needing space for themselves or a quiet space," said Loreto College's Judy-Ann Quilliam.
"It is a private space accessed from the learning hub and counselling area where students go who want assistance with their learning."
Ms Quilliam said demand for student wellbeing services had been increasing in recent years and was behind a redevelopment of the school's wellbeing precinct including the garden.
"In the past we have had school counsellors and our learning hub and other supports in different places but this will combine them all to one area where the sensory garden will wrap around the building," she said.
"Particularly in the last couple of years there's been a growing need (for student wellbeing support) and there's also evidence around students when they feel safe and supported that's when they learn best."
Building works are underway in the Mary Ward Centre, which currently accommodated the learning hub, to relocate school counsellors and wellbeing staff.
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Construction of the garden is scheduled to start at the end of the year and be completed over the summer holidays.
"Many studies have shown that contact with nature directly impacts a students mental and physical wellbeing," she said.
The garden is the focus of the school's 2021 annual giving appeal and already students, family, previous students and the community have shown their generosity with some dedicating special seats and fountains in honour of family members.
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