Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Common Core in the Garden

Here at Life Lab, we have cross-mapped every lesson in The Growing Classroom with the new Common Core Math and Language Arts standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) being rolled out in schools across the country! We've also cross-mapped every lesson in Sowing the Seeds of Wonder with California's Preschool Learning Foundations.


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More Resources to Connect Garden-Based Learning with the New Content Standards

A school garden (however large or small) provides a meaningful context in which students can apply new academic concepts and skills. Whether they are graphing the temperature of their compost pile over time; reading a recipe to make fresh salsa; writing a story from the perspective of an ant; or presenting to a buddy class on the animals that visited their sunflower patch, the opportunities for children to practice traditional academic subjects in the garden are limitless! As students use their newfound math and language skills to measure, calculate, graph, and communicate about things that really matter to them, they deepen their understanding of the subject matter while also rediscovering the joy and fascination that characterizes learning within a meaningful context.

Here's a quick list of content standards that are especially easy to connect to the garden.

And a few other useful resources on this topic:

Farm to School and the Common Core Standards created by Emily Hoyler of Shelburne Farms' Sustainable Schools Project.

Take the Common Core Outdoors: School gardens offer lessons beyond science and healthy eating created by Jane Hirschi

Six Key Reasons the New Next Generation Science Standards are Great for Environmental Education by Kevin Coyle


Do you have other resources to help connect Garden-Based Learning with the new content standards? List them below in the comments. 

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What a pleasure and honor to share a bit of Life Lab's work with the preschool that I attended when I was 4 years old - Anneleise's in Laguna Beach! It was a wonderful evening sharing a local, seasonal feast prepared by crazy talented chefs in support of SEEDS Arts and Education! #seedsartsandeducation ... See MoreSee Less

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What a day in Watsonville! Started at HA Hyde with a Kindergarten garden assessment and signing up K-5 teachers for garden classes. Over a dozen teachers signed up to come and learn in one of the finest school gardens in the county created by Patrick Littleton. Then on to the revamped garden at Amesti School where we installed irrigation, planted some perennials, built a bench and finished the fencing. The day ended at the Life Lab Blooming Classroom with an after school harvest field trip for Hyde students and where our deer fencing project slowly moves along. #terrifictuesday @FoodCorps @pvusd ... See MoreSee Less

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Get to Know 'Em Thursday! Learn about our FoodCorps California service members every Thursday. Service Member Lidia Tropeano is serving with CAFF: Central Coast and Life Lab in Santa Cruz and Watsonville. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz Lidia joined FoodCorps after working with a school garden in Watsonville. With years of garden education experience, Lidia is now supporting another school garden close by in addition to the Harvest of the Month program. #CAFF #LifeLab #farmtoschool Learn more about her here:

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Rachel Pringle

Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside

Life Lab has been the most innovative and relevant organization in this field. From providing the best curriculum to their cutting edge professional development, we have relied on Life Lab as our go to organization for support, ideas, and collaboration.

Erica Curry

Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps

Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.

Sheila Bricken

Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary

Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.

Tara Neier

Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom

Terry had another awesome two weeks at Life Lab. I think he learns more there than in any other part of his year. School is great, but he’s passionate (and often dogmatic) about what he learns there.