Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Stephanie de Sam Lazaro


Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Background: Exposure to and engagement with nature is an essential element of healthy physical, emotional, and social development for all children. Sensory gardens combine many of the supportive pieces of outdoor play to increase participation for children of all abilities. Additional resources and education are needed to support children’s engagement with nature.

Purpose: This portfolio outlines the development, implementation, and evaluation of educational materials for caregivers and nature- based therapists related to sensory gardens.

Approach: Educational materials were developed and distributed via an interactive online learning platform, Thinkific, and evaluated through surveys completed by participants.

Outcomes: At the time of the survey closure date, 45 individuals had enrolled in the course and nine completed the course and survey (three parents and six practitioners). While parents reported positive experiences with the course, online learning was not identified as a preferred delivery format for educational materials. Enrollment, participation, and completion of the course continued following survey closure date.

Recommendations: Tailoring educational materials to meet the unique needs of the caregivers, providing a variety of materials, and allowing time to complete materials will increase any future engagement with educational programs. Additionally, it is essential to prioritize education for practitioners as this will ensure knowledge gets distributed to the intended audience without overwhelming parents who may already be at their maximal capacity and have limited time to spend completing educational materials.