A child plays in The Florida Center for Early Childhood Education's new sensory garden.

A child plays in The Florida Center for Early Childhood Education's new sensory garden.

The Leadership Sarasota County class of 2020 recently expanded the Florida Center for Early Childhood’s outside play space into a sensory garden. The garden was inspired by the word "transformation," and includes caterpillars and butterflies as prominent features throughout. The space includes a new fence, concrete walkway with landscaping, an irrigation system, fiberglass animals, musical instruments, an herb garden, a calming area, and a hand painted rock river.

The Florida Center for Early Childhood has been a leading provider of therapeutic services, early education and healthy development for children in southwest Florida. Its programs focus on infants and children through fifth grade who are at-risk academically, socially, or economically. Leadership Sarasota County's  project was made possible by grants from Annie Yu, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Ken and Peggy Abt and a fundraising campaign organized by the leadership class, as well as in-kind donations from Willis Smith Construction, Plant Parents and Gecko’s Grill & Pub. Leadership Sarasota County is a program of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.