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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2 days ago

Alecia Green

Hi, I am not getting any reply from my messages. Could someone please follow up my order..? See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

As we all navigate the dynamics of distance learning education, Life Lab would like to offer support.

Check out our website Lifelab.org/Covid-19/ for resources outlining the potential for outdoor learning spaces to provide "extra “classroom” space; allow for social distancing; and provide strategic and cost-effective tools for improving academic, mental and physical well being. #outdoorlearningspaces #outdooreducation #schoolgardens #lifelab #notallclassroomshavefourwalls #livinglaboratory #socialemotionallearning See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Today’s Thankful Thursday shout out goes to our @pajarovalleyusd Partner Schools: Hall District Elementary, H. A. Hyde Elementary, Starlight Elementary, Amesti Elementary, Ohlone Elementary, Ann Soldo Elementary, & McQuiddy Elementary🌱We look forward to another school year of bringing learning to life through nature based education🌻#schoolgardens #lifelab #thankfulthursday #nature #education See MoreSee Less

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

Change is good and delicious #Blackberry #schoolgardens #outdoorlearning #LifeLab #gardeneducation See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

We are grateful for the continued support from @newleafcmarket Life Lab is honored to have been chosen as a community non-profit benefactor of their Bloom Wellness products that are all organic, non-GMO, & gluten free. Our partnership reflects New Leaf Community Markets’ core values of education, environmental stewardship, and nutrition. #thankyouthursday #schoolgardens #lifelab #newleafcommunitymarket #gardensofgratitude See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

🌱Moment of the Month🌱

Life Lab Summer Camps are always a beautiful and nurturing way to share the interconnections of nature with children. Although our campers could not join us in the Life Lab Garden Classroom this summer, we wanted to make it possible for them to have fun at home! So our camp team assembled Summer Activity Care Packages full of materials, recipes, and advice for 225 children who had already registered for camp. They then carefully and lovingly hand delivered them to each family, occasionally getting to say Hi! from a safe distance, too.

"Thank you so much!! I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for pooling your ideas together for non-screen fun and learning opportunities. We can’t wait to dive in!
With much gratitude,"
Ellie

We are grateful to each and every camp family for their kindness, generosity, and patience as we all navigated the new realities of this year. As a community, the camp families even donated more than $12,000 of their camp fees towards ensuring that Life Lab will continue cultivating children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education during this challenging time.

While we cannot deliver care packages to everyone in our broader Life Lab community, we hope that our growing BackPocketLearning.org website will help families seeking simple, fun, nature based activities and healthy family recipes to enjoy together at home this summer!🌈🐝🌻🌞

#lifelabmomentofthemonth #mylifelab #lifelab #summercamp #summerfun #gardenbasededucation #gardenlife #garden See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Our “Share Your Garden Saturday” video series continues with a sweet share from Emma Christie in the Life Lab garden at Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville🌸#shareyourgaredLL #school gardens PVUSD Food & Nutrition Services #LifeLab AmeriCorps See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

In love with our @reneesgardenseeds flowers❤️thank you Renee for years of support & providing seeds for Life Lab gardens. We appreciate you! #reneesgardenseeds #lifelab #outdooreducation #gardensofgratitude #schoolgardens See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

“Education is a practice of Freedom” #emancipation #juneteenth #americanhistory #blackhistory #teachablemoments See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Happy National Eat Your Veggies Day!😋🥕

To celebrate today we wanted to share some of our impacts this past school year. In our seven PVUSD Partner Elementary Schools, 98% of kindergarten, 1st and 2nd teachers reported that the Fall 2019 NGSS in the Garden programs improved their 1,900 students’ attitudes towards fresh fruits and vegetables, their emotional well-being, and their connection with nature.

Our Kids Cook presentation brought exciting hands-on cooking and healthy eating to more than 1,500 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at these schools, too, in January, February and March. In tastings surveys 72% of the children reported liking or loving the fresh, healthful foods they ate, with 63% said they were trying a new fresh produce item for the first time.

278 second-graders from our partner schools enjoyed hands-on learning in field trips to our Blooming Classroom this school year. 59% reported tasting new healthy food items for the first time in lesson-based tastings, and 70% said they loved or liked what they tasted.

We would also like to remind you to eat a rainbow 🌈🥗

A diverse and colorful diet nourishes a strong and healthy body. All fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. In addition, they contain phytonutrients, which give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors and also play a wide range of roles in keeping our bodies healthy.

Thank you to our partners and sponsors for making this work possible. @sagegardenproject @pvhealth @pajarovalleyusd
@unfi @foodcorps

#eatyourveggies #EatYourVegetablesDay #mylifelab #vegetables See MoreSee Less

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Stock up your Garden Classroom

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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