This is Jacinta O’Keeffe’s bright idea for Cork.

To provide an inspirational sensory garden that enhances children's holistic development


Oakfield Close Community Childcare Centre is based in a urban area where children would have limited access to the beautiful array of the outdoors.

It will provide an explosion of variety to the whole community including existing preschool afterschool summer camps community events etc. The development of areas will have a high emphasis on natural materials in everyday life.

The areas are defined as follows: messy, digging, sensory, quiet, creative, music, construction, & outdoor materials.

  • Messy area includes mud kitchen, water, sand.
  • Digging area includes tyres, compost and plants.
  • Quiet area includes books natural seating canopy, visual stimulation.
  • Sensory area includes a selection of exploratory martials e.g. locks.
  • Creative area includes wall constructions for painting, writing, materials to promote positive self image.
  • Music area includes a variety of stimulating natural materials that reflect culture and encourage creativity.
  • Construction area includes natural building materials to help develop and extend inquisitive minds.
  • Maths area Stimulating natural materials.
  • Outdoor materials include appropriate weather proof clothing to allow children to access the outdoors in any weather.

All materials firstly will be gathered then appropriately constructed to wood for wall constructions. Mud kitchen, bench, pieces of wood will be cut to size and then put together. Equipment & paint required will be purchased including outdoor weather appropriate clothing.

Volunteers from the community will help to support the areas where possible through painting gluing planting etc and any work involving cutting drilling electrical devises and materials for construction etc will be carried out by a fully insured company. This work will be achieved within 12 months of receiving funding.

Our centre is apart of Respond with charity statues based in a Rapid area in Mallow. A variety of community spirit is evident. The centre holds events for the community also aiding other organisations such as fundraisers for Barnardos, Children’s charities, Childline, coffee mornings etc. The centre offers low cost community childcare in both preschool and afterschool, summercamps are held every summer again at low rates insuring those from disadvantaged backgrounds get the same opportunities to avail of high quality services at an affordable price.

The whole ethos of Respond is to provide for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to enhance their opportunities in life. The garden will therefore achieve this vision and give opportunities to children who may not have the access to the outdoor experience.

It will also aid a new additional experience and meaning to an outdoor space for all children that will support inclusion. The garden will encourage children to avail of the outdoors and the benefits of fresh air, exercise, aid well being and overall development, with unlimited access all year due to the addition of outdoor clothing.