Life Lab

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

 
The resources listed below were created by Education Outside, a nonprofit based in San Francisco that operated a successful AmeriCorps program serving schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Education Outside was committed to advancing science education in public schools, outdoors. Education Outside closed its doors in June of 2019, but garden-based programming continues in these schools through other organizations.

These resources represent best practices, and lessons learned over eight years of training and deploying garden educators in public schools.

These materials are for use by schools, School Garden Support Organizations, AmeriCorps programs, or other environmental education programs working in schools. There is a range of topics from building buy-in to building and maintaining infrastructure. Also included is an abridged version of Education Outside’s kindergarten through 5th grade curriculum. These resources will be particularly helpful for organizations supporting multiple school gardens and the specialized educators who teach in them, but will also provide many useful tips and templates for classroom teachers who bring students to the garden.

For parents and teachers looking to start a school garden and aren’t sure where to begin, please refer to Education Outside’s book, How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers which can be purchased online.

Importantly, Education Outside has included materials related to their approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their hiring practices, programming, and training.

Please note that these resources are made available to the public for free, but are not for commercial use. Credit should be given to Education Outside if any material is used or adapted.

View a complete introduction to these resources and a brief history of Education Outside

 

Browse Table of Contents in the Drop-down Sections Below

View Table of Contents as a Google Doc

Download All 54 Documents in a Zipped Folder

 

Education Outside Program and Instructional Materials

Education Outside K-5 Science Curriculum (Abridged)
Education Outside Curriculum Overview and K-5 Lessons
Kindergarten
First Grade
Second Grade
Third Grade
Fourth Grade
Fifth Grade

Lesson Planning Resources
Using The Learning Cycle to Write Outdoor Science Lessons
Adapting the Curriculum
Curriculum Visuals: English
Curriculum Visuals: Spanish

Education Outside’s Best Practices for Teaching in the School Garden Overview
Best Practices for Building Classroom Culture
Best Practices Rubric

Back Pocket Activities, Art Projects & Celebrations, and Icebreakers 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Education Outside’s Organizational Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Building Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Outdoor Classrooms

Cooking Outside
Best Practices for Cooking Outside
Recipes for Cooking in the Outdoor Classroom
Essential School Garden Cooking Supplies
Training: Cooking Outside with Students

Hiring Garden Educators

Hiring Considerations

Training Garden Educators

Education Outside’s Training Approach
Training Calendar Scope & Sequence

Learning & Teaching Outdoors (one PDF that includes all LTO trainings below)
Backwards Planning, The Learning Cycle, and Lesson Adaptation
Building a Foundation for Effective Classroom Management
Making it Stick
Teaching Next Generation Science Standards Outside
Restorative Practices
Behavior Management
Facilitating Inquiry
Cooking Outside with Students
Trauma Informed Practices

Leadership for Community Engagement (one PDF that includes all LCE trainings below)
Laying the Foundation for Discussing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Among Garden Educators
Getting to Know Yourself and Your Community: Identity Mapping, Fitting-in vs. Belonging, and Asset Mapping
Supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with External Consultants
Communication: Feedback, Nonviolent Communication, and Grant Writing
Reflecting on Organizational Culture: Deepening the Work

Outdoor Classroom Design (one PDF that includes all OCD trainings below)
Annual Care with Students in the Outdoor Classroom
Designing Outdoor Classrooms for Effective Teaching
Construction Skills & Safety Basics
Perennials in the Outdoor Classroom

Garden Educator Management & Coaching

Education Outside Support Systems for Garden Educators
Education Outside Support Systems for Program Managers
Program Feedback & Evaluation

Garden & Green Spaces

Building Your Outdoor Classroom: The Top 10 (Overview)

The Top 10: An Extended Picture Guide
The Top 10: A Summary Guide

Basic Construction Plans for School Garden Infrastructure

Building Buy-In With Data

Evaluating Your Program: Building Buy-In with Data

Resources Focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

These resources are included in the Table of Contents above, and are highlighted here for reference.
Education Outside’s Organizational Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Building Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Outdoor Classrooms
Hiring Considerations
Laying the Foundation for Discussing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Among Garden Educators
Getting to Know Yourself and Your Community: Identity Mapping, Fitting-in vs. Belonging & Asset Mapping
Supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with External Consultants
Reflecting on Organizational Culture: Deepening the Work

 

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Life Lab 40th
Life Lab’s 40th Gala – Sunday, October 13th  Celebrate 40 years of bringing learning to life in gardens. Learn more  
Life Lab's 40th Gala
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
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