Life Lab

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

Building Connections in the Garden


Develop a child’s love of nature and support their social emotional wellbeing through garden-based activities.  Participants in this course will learn how to set up their garden classroom as a safe and welcoming space that is inclusive and respectful of all living things. We will learn gardening tips and tricks with children while also demonstrating activities that engage children in using their senses to explore the natural world. Additionally, we will explore best practices in mindfulness and social emotional learning through an equity lens and how to incorporate this into the garden classroom.


Graduate education units available.


Opens January  21st  and  Closes March 12th

Live Sessions:  Thursdays 3:30 – 5:00 PST

January 28th,  February 11th,  February 25th,  March 4th



  • Activities that cultivate a child’s love of our natural world
  • Mindfulness and social emotional wellbeing strategies in the garden classroom
  • Specific strategies for how to grow a garden with groups of children (such as prepping a garden bed, composting and watering)
  • How to foster equity, access and inclusion in the garden classroom


  • Four (4)  90-minute synchronous virtual sessions that include discussions, sharing of resources, hands-on demonstration lessons, and community building.
  • Asynchronous content that can be completed on your own time 
  • A one-on-one personalized coaching session that includes specific feedback catered to your needs. 
  • Relevant resources in digital format
  • A copy of The Growing Classroom 
  • Free Seeds!


 K-6 classroom teachers, garden educators, organizations interested in supporting garden-based learning on small and large scales.


24 participants



  • Complete all 4 courses in the series: 
    • Building Connections in the Garden
    • The Garden as a Classroom
    • Plant to Plate
    • School Garden Program Sustainability
  • Demonstrate positive and effective instruction in the coaching session for each course 
  • Attend all synchronous sessions in each course (4 per course)
  • Complete a final reflection on the Life Lab approach to garden-based education, and how it applies to your work and community after all 4 courses have been completed.

Ideally participants complete the series of courses over 1 year.  However, if there are extenuating circumstances participants can become certified if they take all required courses within 2 years.  The next set of courses will begin again in the fall of 2021 

  • People who have taken a previous in-person Life Lab workshop within the last 3 years can count that workshop towards the certification. Workshops that transfer to the certification program:
    • Plant to Plate workshop → Plant to Plate Course
    • School Garden Program Sustainability workshop → School Garden Program Sustainability Course
    • The Growing Classroom → The Garden as a Classroom Course
  • If you are interested in earning the full certification and want to use your completion of a previous workshop towards the certification, please contact Nicole at for more information on how to register.

Upon successful completion of each course, 2 University of the Pacific graduate education credits can be earned for an additional fee of $80 per credit hour, payable to University of the Pacific.  Most people seeking these credits are educators who are looking to increase their salary on a credit-based pay scale or for relicensure credit.  Most institutions do not accept UofP credits towards a specific graduate degree however, if there is a specific program you intend to pursue, it may be worth checking with that institution.

Life Lab offers a limited number of course fee reductions based on need and anticipated impact. To apply for financial assistance click FinancialAssistanceApp. If you are a Santa Cruz County Educator, we also offer a significant discount. Please email or call (831) 400-2016 for details. 

We understand that plans can change.  Should you wish to cancel your registration, please submit, in writing, your cancellation to  Your registration fee will be refunded, less a $50 administrative fee.  Regretfully, we will not be able to refund any fees if cancellation is made within 1 week of the opening course date except, of course, in cases of illness or emergency.

Translate »
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial