Erin Reynolds, a lead teacher in the infant/pre-toddler room at The Goddard School located in Auburn, MA has been named Goddard School National Teacher of the Year. In addition, Reynolds received a Tylenol Teacher Award grant for $500 to help implement her plans for a sensory garden at the Auburn preschool. 

Erin Reynolds [Submitted Photo]

Reynolds’ proposal involves using recycled materials to create a sensory music garden along the side of the Goddard School building. In addition, she plans to have a planted garden as well.

“Kids will be able to dig and explore in the soil” said Reynolds. “I planned some raised beds where we can grow vegetables as well as flowers.” 

Another innovative feature will allow students a look beneath the soil. 

“I am working on building see through planters so the students can see the roots and how they grow through the ground. We also hope to have some hydroponic planters that we can move inside in the fall and enjoy growing all year round” Reynolds added. 

In addition to the Tylenol Teacher Grant, Reynolds says she has also received support from local farms and nurseries.

“We have some growers scheduled to come visit and show the students about gardening and farming” says Reynolds. “We have also received some donations from nurseries. Some will be live plants and some will be seeds we will grow.”

For a finishing touch, Reynolds plans a storage area personalized by the pioneering growing class.

Erin Reynolds works with students in the ‘Bunnies’ room at Goddard School, Auburn, MA. [Submitted photo]

“We made a workbench in class, and we will have the students personalize it with their handprints and painting” says Reynolds. “We will use it in the garde to store our supplies and tools.”

Reynolds is originally from Monmouth, New Jersey and started teaching preschool while living in Wilmington, DE. She joined the Goddard School of Auburn team in July 2018, and obviously quickly made an impact. 

Reynolds plans to begin the planting project in early June, and we’ll plan another visit to follow their progress!

The Goddard School is located at  494 Washington St, Auburn, MA 01501 and serves children from infant through kindergarten.