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History of Horticulture at Perkins

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Pappas Horticultural Center

Since it began more than two decades ago, Perkins' horticulture program has been a national model in education for people who are blind. It has proven its effectiveness over 20 years with a wide variety of students who are visually impaired.

Horticulture provides a recreational and vocational activity for people of all ages, abilities and needs. Plants inherently invite participation because they respond to care, they grow, and they change. Horticulture therapy is a medium that blends those characteristics with the clinical benefit of improving social, psychological and physical well-being. Horticulture has proven to be an invaluable asset to many students at Perkins by providing leisure activities, sensory training, prevocational experiences and job opportunities.

The roots of horticulture at Perkins School for the Blind go back to Perkins' relocation in 1910 to our current 38-acre Watertown campus. At that time, students benefited both from being outdoors and being involved with work that was productive. They tended orchards and gardens that provided fruits and vegetables to the school's dining rooms.

Horticulture at Perkins benefits students of all ages from many Perkins programs: Infant/Toddler Program; Preschool Services; Lower School; the Deafblind Program; the Secondary Program; and Outreach Services for elders and mainstreamed students.