Horticultural Therapy

Nature-based programs to stimulate and inspire


Horticultural Therapy is a professional practice that uses the cultivation of plants and garden activities to improve the mental, physical, and social health of its participants.  Horticultural therapists are specially trained professionals who involve the client in gardening and nature-based activities as a means of bringing about improvement in their life.

The horticultural therapy programs at The Children’s Center and The Special Children’s School bring nature-based programs into the school setting using hands-on activities to stimulate sensory, motor, and cognitive and communication skills.  A teacher’s lesson about color, shape, and texture comes alive when supplemented by a guided experience in the garden.  Nature-based activities can enhance the efforts of physical, occupational, and speech therapists as well, using thoughtfully designed garden projects.  Activities can easily be adapted to accommodate all ability levels. For example, students develop fine motor skills while planting seeds and their vocabulary is expanded while learning garden terms.

One single example of the power and joy of the garden is “Caitlyn,” who took her first unassisted steps there, amazing even her therapist.  This achievement occurred with a big grin on her face and a watering can in her hand.

Our gardens are always open to visitors and we welcome outside groups to enjoy our gardens for their own learning experiences.

If you would like to learn more about horticultural therapy, please visit http://ncbg.unc.edu/horticultural-therapy/.


The Centers for Exceptional Children:
The Centers for Exceptional Children. The Special Children's School. The Children's Center. Winston-Salem, NC. Copyright © 2014.
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