Life Lab

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


The Growing ClassroomLearn to use a garden to breathe life into standards-based lessons, promote ecological literacy, encourage healthy eating, and support students’ social development. Using Life Lab’s Growing Classroom activity guide for grades K-6, participants in this hands-on workshop experience tried-and-true garden-based lessons linked to Common Core Language Arts and Math and Next Generation Science Standards; practice basic gardening techniques; and develop management strategies for a school garden program. Graduate education units available.


Graduate Education CreditAnyone interested or involved in garden-based learning with children in grades K-6

Location and Cost Options

Life Lab’s Garden Classroom on the UC Santa Cruz Campus: $360/$400 per participant – See dates and registration deadlines for upcoming workshops


At your school site – See pricing details


Key Workshop Components

Learn …

Making Paper Pots

• How to connect garden-based learning activities from The Growing Classroom to academic content standards

• How to use a garden to provide opportunities for students to develop their creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills

• Basic gardening techniques, including composting, seed sowing, preparing garden beds, transplanting, and garden planning

• Outdoor classroom management tips

Discuss …  

• How to make outdoor, inquiry-based education work for different student populations

• The resources inside of The Growing Classroom activity guide, including sections on: Creating a garden, garden-based learning activities, gardening “how-to’s,” and connecting garden-based learning to academic content standards.

Take home …

* Six of One, Half Dozen of the OtherThe Growing Classroom activity guide

* Ideas and inspiration for your school garden

* Optional: 1 unit of semester credit available per day


One of the many lessons we model.

View a sample 2-Day Workshop Agenda.

To customize a 1-day version of this workshop, we work with site hosts to determine which half of the content is most relevant to their audience. Generally, site hosts choose to focus on 3 out of the following 6 areas for a 1-day Growing Classroom Workshop.

  • Curricular Connections in the Garden
  • Gardening How-To’s: Composting, Planting, etc.
  • Educational Garden Design
  • Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education: Comparative Tasting
  • Science Inquiry in the Garden 
  • Collaborative Planning Time 

Participant Comments

The curriculum, which is incredible, will be a valuable asset to me as an instructor. The experience of being in the garden, seeing the different spaces first-hand, was exciting and thought provoking. And the different activities that we did were a lot of fun and helped me prepare for my upcoming programs. But the most important thing that I received from your workshop was inspiration! I’m so excited to bring garden education to Reno!

I learned how to integrate our state science curriculum into on-site gardening activities, teaching students how to explore, ask questions, and connect to the natural world. Now my students are showing an improved respect toward the plants and animals on campus, an enthusiasm and curiosity to visit and learn from the garden, and expanded healthy eating practices. Because of my participation in this training, my principal is supporting multiple grade levels in engaging in on-site garden activities.

One of the best organized days of hands-on activities and philosophical underpinnings I’ve ever seen.

I received a wonderful experience that will boost and sustain my quest for a learning garden area for my school.

This workshop far surpassed my expectations – excellent info from presenter and participants.

I came away with the knowledge that Life Lab can be used for teaching in every subject [and] lots of ides to improve our life lab.

This is exactly what we will need to further the commitment of a garden program district-wide.


View all upcoming workshops in Life Lab’s Garden Classroom

All workshops require advanced registration and deposit.

To set up a workshop for your school site, please call Life Lab at (831) 459-3833 or email us at

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12 hours ago

Life Lab

Join us for Life Lab’s Annual Benefit Brunch! Complimentary delicious meal and an inspiring program. 😋

Event is complimentary, and we hope to inspire you to make a meaningful donation toward growing healthy children! 🌱

Sunday, May 19th // 11am-1:30pm // MacQuiddy Elementary, Watsonville

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17 hours ago

Life Lab

Be part of our Garden Classroom workshops. Join educators from all over the country and possibly from around the world. Continual Education Credit is available for most of our workshops.

Register today! See MoreSee Less

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6 days ago

Life Lab

It was an absolute pleasure working with such a stellar group of educators. Thank you all for the great work you are doing at MDUSD Science and Garden Education Program.

We look forward to working with you in the near future."This is the best day of work EVER!" -Direct quote from a teacher participant in yesterday’s "NGSS in the Garden" workshop at Sun Terrace Elementary by Life Lab. Whitney Cohen led classroom teachers from 6 different elementary schools in an amazing, in-depth training on how to implement the new Next Generation Science Standards in that tried-and-true method of "learning by doing". On the agenda were 3 sample lessons, lots more demoed garden activities, debriefs with deep dives into the 3 strands of the NGSS, and practical exercises on how to plan new lessons using the 5E’s and how to "NGSS-ify" existing science lessons. What a day!

Out heartfelt thanks to Battery Powered for making this workshop possible! See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

PSSST!!! Keep this between us but we still have very limited spaces for our Garden Sprouts Camp for 4-6 year olds. Spaces are filling up fast.

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

🌱Moment of the Month🌱

We hosted a gathering of Central Coast school garden educators and allies in March at Life Lab’s birthplace, Green Acres Elementary School in Live Oak. It was great to see old and new friends there and share updates from many local school garden programs.

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

Our friends at the Children & Nature Network are hosting the 2019 Children & Nature Network International Conference in Oakland, California, May 16-18, 2019. We’ll be there — and we hope you’ll join us at this premier gathering of leaders, advocates and activists from the children and nature movement. You’ll be inspired by three days of powerful keynotes, expertly-curated workshops, field trips and events designed to support the work you do to connect children, families and communities to nature. Help spread the word and get the conversation going at #CNC2019. See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

Life Lab is turning 40 this year! There is nothing that would make us happier than to reconnect with you.

🌱Have you attended a Life Lab summer camp or field trip?

🐞Are you a past intern?

🍏Have we made a meaningful difference in your life?

If so, please share your story by using #MyLifeLab or email us at We would love to share your stories with the world! See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Come explore the garden and farm with us! Our camp days will include harvesting, making garden snacks, exploring the farm, singing, storytelling, garden caretaking, garden crafts, and investigation of the natural world. This camp serves 24 campers with a 1:6 ratio of instructors to campers, allowing us to tailor camp activities to the ages and interests of our campers.

Hurry, limited spaces are filling fast! Most slots are taken. We only have Tues/Thurs available for 4-6 year olds. ALL other ages are filled. For more info and register click here . For questions contact Amy at (831)-459-4035 or email See MoreSee Less

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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