Life Lab

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

Bring one of the following workshops to your site or come to one of our upcoming workshops at our Garden Classroom in Santa Cruz, CA

The Growing Classroom: A Garden-Based Learning Intensive (Grades 2-6)

Learn 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 2-6, 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.

Next Generation Science in the Garden (Grades K-5)

Let’s head outside and put earth and life back into Earth and Life Science! Using activities from Life Lab’s award-winning curricula, participants in this workshop learn to use a garden as a meaningful context in which their students can engage in Next Generation Science and Engineering Practices to examine Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross-Cutting Concepts. Where better to explore ecological interdependence, growth, and development of organisms, structure and function, adaptation, and the environmental impact of human activity than in an outdoor garden classroom? Graduate education units available.

Language Arts and Math in the Garden (Grades K-6)

Learn to use a school garden to provide a meaningful context in which students can apply their emerging skills in math and English language arts. Using lessons from The Growing Classroom activity guide, participants in this workshop will experience and discuss garden activities that support learning in math and language arts. 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! Graduate education units available.

Plant to Plate: Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education (Grades K-8)

Make the connection from seed to table in this fun and delicious workshop. Using tried-and-true Life Lab lessons and recipes for grades K-8, participants explore effective ways to teach nutrition and encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables through hands-on activities with food, including harvesting and meal preparation. Graduate education units available.

Sowing the Seeds of Wonder, Part 1: Designing the Preschool Garden Learning Environment (PreK-K)

Look at the garden through the eyes of a young child. Using Life Lab’s Sowing the Seeds of Wonder activity guide for preschool and kindergarten, participants in this workshop will explore leadership techniques and physical garden design elements that cultivate in young children a sense of peace, caring, curiosity, and joy. This workshop is ideal for new educators as well as seasoned educators ready for a fresh perspective on guiding positive behaviors as well as designing an environment that is ripe for learning, connection, and growth. This workshop can be taken on its own, or in conjunction with Sowing the Seeds of Wonder, Part 2. Graduate education units available.

Sowing the Seeds of Wonder, Part 2: Garden Activities that Inspire a Love of Learning, Healthy Food, and Nature (PreK-K)

Discover how you can use a garden to cultivate young children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature. Using Life Lab’s Sowing the Seeds of Wonder activity guide for preschool and kindergarten, participants in this workshop will sample activities designed to encourage young children to safely explore the natural world using all of their senses. We will practice basic gardening and cooking skills together, with a focus on how to grow and prepare food with young children. We will also learn garden art projects and songs for preschoolers. This workshop can be taken on its own, or in conjunction with Sowing the Seeds of Wonder, Part 1. Graduate education units available.

Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden

Learn the basic skills you’ll need to design, develop, enhance, and maintain a school garden. Using Gardens for Learning, participants in this workshop learn about garden design, soil preparation, planting, watering, and pest management as well as building a support network, linking to academic content standards, and program planning. Schools may opt to add a second workshop day to apply these skills directly at their site. Graduate education units available.

Supporting English Language Learners in the Garden

Discover the opportunities for meaningful writing, reading, listening and speaking that abound in a school garden! Participants in this workshop engage in scaffolded lessons and examine the specific strategies that make content accessible to students with varying levels of fluency in English. They then practice facilitating garden-based lessons with structured participation strategies to ensure that every student is involved. Graduate education units available.Graduate education units available.

Classroom Management in the Outdoors

Let’s explore tried-and-true tips for establishing and maintaining a positive, engaging culture of learning and fun in a garden setting! Together we will experience and discuss setting the tone for effective learning; garden class routines; station rotations; and specific techniques to maximize student engagement and participation.

School Garden Program Management

Why do some school gardens take root and become well-established, while others struggle? In this workshop, we will discuss key elements of well-integrated school garden programs. Together, we’ll explore different, sustainable school garden program models; planning tools to align year-round garden activities with academic and garden care goals; methods for assessing garden programs; and strategies for increasing funding.

Digging Deeper Into School Gardens (Grades K-8)

Create a customized workshop specifically designed for experienced garden educators and/or past Life Lab workshop participants who are ready to take their educational garden to the next level. Possible workshop topics include:

  • Sequencing lessons for each grade and/or season
  • Facilitating student-led inquiry investigations in the garden
  • Lesson Coaching: Participants demonstrate lessons and give and receive feedback with support

The content for these workshops is unique from that of our introductory workshops, making Digging Deeper an ideal follow-up experience. Graduate education units available.

The Food Lab Experience

Discover the magic that happens at FoodLab! At Pacific Elementary School, FoodLab students cook the daily school lunch. Participants in this workshop will learn to set up a kitchen space that will encourage children to explore, ask questions, and connect to food they make themselves. We will also explore activities to engage children’s curiosity and enthusiasm while introducing them to fundamental ideas in math, chemistry, language arts, history, and leadership skills. Graduate education units available.

Santa Cruz School Food and Garden Tours

Get inspired by some of the most impressive and well-established cooking and school gardens in the nation! The Santa Cruz area has a rich history in school gardening. On this tour, participants will see a wide variety of school gardens, meet with long-time garden educators, and cross-pollinate with other garden educators to learn from one another. Graduate education units available.

Comments are closed.

follow us on Facebook

6 days 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

View on Facebook

2 weeks 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

View on Facebook

2 weeks 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

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

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

View on Facebook

3 weeks 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

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Timeline Photos See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Life Lab Stands With Black Lives.

The injustice of systemic racism must end. Our work at Life Lab to foster empathy, love and inclusion with the children who are the next generation will continue, and it is no longer enough. This painful moment is an opportunity and a catalyst for us to take the next steps to more purposefully weave antiracist learning into all that we do.

This is a time of active learning for us, as we listen and dig deeper into Life Lab’s part in historical and present-day oppression. We see opportunities to provide foundational antiracist lessons and experiences more intentionally throughout our curriculum and programs, joining with others who are on this path.

There are seeds of hope in this moment that we can nurture in garden classrooms. Our work with children, educators and schools can motivate actions, large and small, individual and collective, to help create real change for a more just society.

Black lives matter, and Life Lab commits to countering racism through education and love.

We know this process will include learning, unlearning and relearning. We welcome this collaborative work, and we will report back to you on our progress.

~ The Life Lab Team See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 month ago

Life Lab

🥕Meet Cara, our Garden Programs Manager!🥕

Cara began her current position at Life Lab in 2014, but has worked with Life Lab in a variety of roles since 2007. While going to school at the University of California Santa Cruz, she found her calling to be an outdoor educator while interning at Life Lab in the field trip teaching program. Graduating from UCSC with a B.A in Environmental Studies and a minor in Anthropology, Cara brings 12 years of education experience to her position, specializing in environmental education and professional development for beginning educators. Growing up in Chicago, she jumped on opportunities to volunteer and work at learning institutions, such as the Evanston Ecology Center and the Field Museum of Chicago. Cara moved to Santa Cruz in 2003 and loves living in a community that appreciates healthy living, eating well, and the natural world. When she is not hard at work, she is hard at play, hiking, dancing, cooking, traveling and doing yoga.🥘🌎😁 See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 months ago

Life Lab

Our “Share Your Garden Saturday” video series continues with a sweet share from Abby Hauth at the Life Lab garden at MacQuiddy Elementary🌸 #shareyourgardenLL #schoolgardens #lifelab @foodcorps @pvusdschoolfood See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 months ago

Life Lab

Eat a Rainbow this Memorial weekend! Fruits & veggies provide nutrients essential for good health 🌈🥗💪🏽 #chard #carrots #schoolgardens #lifelab #eatarainbow #nutrition #gardeneducation #teachtheyouth See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

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
Translate »
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial