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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1 week ago

Readers To Eaters

Happy National Urban Beekeeping Day! See info on urban bees from Detroit Hives. Good day to share The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter. See author/illustrator Shabazz Larkin read the book for PBSThirteen WNET New York with wonderful message at the end on how to take care of bees, our environment, and ourselves! bit.ly/32LQ0S0..#nationalurbanbeekeepingday #urbanbees #beekeepers #beeeducation #savethebees #givebeesachance #pollinators #pollination #farmtoschool #agclassroom #agliteracy #AITC #summerlearning #summerreading National Agriculture in the ClassroomMichigan Agriculture in the Classroom New York Agriculture in the ClassroomWisconsin Ag in the Classroom ProgramEdible Schoolyard NYC The Edible Schoolyard Project Life Lab Big Green Common Threads Farm Slow Food USA School Garden Network

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

¡Estamos emocionados de anunciar la versión en Español del curso GRATIS aclamado, Enseñando en el Aula de la Naturaleza! Conéctese con otros educadores y desarrolle nuevas estrategias y maneras de ver el aula al aire libre. Es una gran oportunidad tanto para educadores nuevos a la enseñanza al aire libre y educación basada en el jardín como para los más experimentados en esta práctica. Lea más y registrese aquí: wischoolgardens.org/EAN-curso/Wisconsin School Garden Network _________________________________We are excited to announce a Spanish language version of the acclaimed FREE course, Teaching in Nature’s Classroom! Connect with educators and develop new strategies and ways of seeing the outdoor classroom. A great opportunity for educators new to outdoor and garden-based learning, as well as educators who are experienced in the field. Learn more and register here wischoolgardens.org/EAN-curso/Wisconsin School Garden Network

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1 month ago

Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce

This summer marks the 9-year anniversary of Yoso Wellness Spa in Santa Cruz and they’re celebrating with a community event! 🎉 This family-friendly celebration is free, with food, drink and raffle purchases going to Life Lab , a local non-profit! 🎟Join them this Sunday 3pm – 6pm for a 9-Year Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser! 🤩..#santacruccountychamber #yosowellness #anniversary #lifelab #thrive

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1 month ago

Life Lab

❤️💛💚 Happy Juneteenth!!!❤️💛💚It’s official, President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a bill to recognize #Juneteenth as a federal holiday! This is a step forward and reason to celebrate. We must also acknowledge, celebrate and honor the Black freedom fighters who brought chattel slavery to an end, pushed for the end of segregation, and who continue strive to create a more just and peaceful society. Learn more about Juneteenth by clicking the link below.ow.ly/ySdn50FdYyrTo support local Black owned businesses checkout www.blackownedsantacruz.org/nationalblackguide.com/

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1 month ago

Life Lab

On Sunday, June 27th, @YosoWellness @YosoAnnex is celebrating 9 Years of Thriving! They are having a fundraiser to celebrate and have generously selected Life Lab as a beneficiary of this momentous event.⁠ ⁠Sunday, June 27th from 3:00-6:00pm, join us for music, light eats & drinks, swag, fun for you and the kids and a raffle with items from local small businesses.✨There will also be special welcome gifts for the first 50 guests!If you’re not able to make the event, here are some other ways to support:⁠– Stay connected to the garden-based learning movement and our work – via our e-news, social media, and the networks we support.⁠– Volunteer⁠– Participate in the raffle virtually- more information to come on this! ⁠-Shop at Yoso Wellness where you will find an array of consciously curated and tested wellness products for skin health, non-toxic living, astrology planners, wellness rituals, feel good gift cards, herbs, body products and so much more.

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2 months ago

Readers To Eaters

So excited about this on Summer Author Series with Clemson Extension School & Community Gardening, South Carolina Farm to School, and The Bee Cause Project! This August features Rick Swann on Our School Garden! The poetry collection is based on Rick’s own experience as a Seattle school librarian when he helped launch the school garden. Good read on growing a community through food all year round! Free registration @ bit.ly/2TLW23xAuthor series kicksoff with Jacqueline Briggs Martin on 6/29 with her #FoodHeroes series: Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious & Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix. Katherine Pryor presents Sylvia’s Spinach & Zora’s Zucchini on 7/14. Wonderful way to celebrate food literacy this summer! ..#FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #GardenEducation #SchoolGarden #CommunityGarden #GardeningWithKids #FarmToSchool #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #SummerReading #SummerGardening #SummerLearing #OutdoorEducation South Carolina Library Association (SCLA)South Carolina Association of School LibrariansSlow Food South Carolina South Carolina State LibraryJunior Master Gardener Program Life LabThe American Horticultural Society KidsGardening.org National Farm to School Network

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2 months ago

Readers To Eaters

Checked out the new enhanced book edition of Sylvia’s Spinach and Zora’s Zucchini from Vooks, just out this week. Fun to see images come to life! Great sharing for #SummerReading #SummerGardening. Sign up for a free trail. bit.ly/3vKXnWu ..#FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #GardeningWithKids #GardenEducation #SchoolGarden #OutdoorEducation #KidsGardening #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #WIC #SNAPEd Junior Master Gardener Program The American Horticultural Society KidsGardening.org American Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureIowa Agriculture Literacy FoundationCalifornia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (CFAITC) Washington Ag in the Classroom National WIC Association California WIC Association Clemson Extension School & Community Gardening FoodCorps Whole Kids Foundation Life Lab Common Threads Farm

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2 months ago

Life Lab

🥕 VOTE FOR LIFE LAB! 🥕Help us grow healthy children and reduce your carbon footprint. 🌿EVERY time you visit ANY New Leaf Community Market (@NewLeafCMarket) from now until June 20th, find the PAPER BALLOT in the store & VOTE FOR LIFE LAB to be a recipient of the Envirotoken program. 10 cents from every reusable bag can be donated to us. This support has provided a wonderful boost for us over the years–thanks for your votes!

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Stock up your Garden Classroom

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
We Are Hiring!

We are excited to announce 3 new job openings.

For more information and to apply see below

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