Life Lab

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

January 21-26, 2018, Santa Cruz, California

At this year's 5-day institute we will be working towards the following goals.

  • Learn from one another about how we accomplish common Key SGSO Activities so that we can better our practice
  • Make organizational sites plan for Professional Development and School Garden support 
  • Develop and update resources to share with a wider national audience

School Support Organization Key Activities

  1. Creating, Finding, Modifying, and Sequencing High Quality Lessons
  2. Strategies for Sustaining School Garden Programs
  3. Designing Programs for Maximum Impact
  4. Networking and Communications to Support School Gardens
  5. Leading Excellent Garden-Based Education Professional Development

See who is attending the 2018 Institute.

See program photos from participating organizations.

Our Institute on Instagram #sgso2018

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View what took place at our 2016 School Garden Support Organization Institute.

Join the National School Garden Network E-list to be part of a national dailogue of school garden support organizations.

Who?

This Leadership Institute is designed for teams of 2 from School Garden Support Organizations (SGSOs). A SGSO may be a nonprofit organization, university, government agency, foundation, school district, or other entity focused specifically on supporting garden-based learning for multiple schools in their region. SGSOs work to elevate the quality and sustainability of school garden programs across their region, serving thousands of children.    Primary SGSO activities are listed above in the "What" section.

Each SGSO is invited to attend will send 2 key leaders to the Institute. We are particularly seeking SGSOs that:

  • Have been actively supporting school gardens in their region for 8 years or fewer
  • Primarily support elementary school gardens
  • Have a primary focus on providing trainings for garden-based educators in their region, and
  • Plan to host garden-based professional development for educators between February – June 2018

Why?

School gardens have tremendous lifelong benefits for children. Research has shown that when children participate in a school garden program, they show marked improvement in healthy eating; social emotional skills; environmental attitudes; scientific achievement; and attitudes toward learning (www.lifelab.org/whyschoolgardens).

But school garden programs need support in order to unlock their full potential. Without well-trained educators, strong curriculum, and supportive networks, garden programs often become underutilized or even forgotten. With support, however, they thrive, become institutionalized into school cultures, and inspire children for decades.

Regional School Garden Support Organizations (SGSOs) have emerged as a key determinant in the success of school garden programs across the country. This Institute is designed to provide SGSO leaders with the inspiration and information they need to effectively support school garden programs in their regions, and to share best practices with other SGSOs nationally.

 

Hosted by Life Lab in partnership with Whole Kids Foundation 

 

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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.
Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside
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.
Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps
Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.
Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary
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.
Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom