Life Lab

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

Complete

Certification Series

Overview

Become a confident and knowledgeable garden educator that inspires a love of learning, an appreciation of healthy food, and connection to nature in every child through garden-based education! Throughout all 4 courses participants will learn how to set up their garden classroom as a safe and welcoming space that honors diversity and inclusion while supporting each child’s social and emotional wellbeing. 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. We will learn how to use a garden to breathe life into standards-based lessons based on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core Language Arts and Math. Additionally we will experience using tried-and-true Life Lab lessons and recipes for grades K-8, participants to explore effective ways to teach nutrition and encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables through hands-on garden-based activities. In the last course, we will discuss key elements of building a strong school garden culture. And 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.  

Graduate education units available.

Each course is approximately 8 weeks long and includes:

  • 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!

 

Specific details for each course can be found here

  • Course 1
  • Course 2
  • Course 3
  • Course 4

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.  

 

Opens January  21st  and  Closes March 12th

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

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

The Garden as a Classroom

Learn to use a garden to breathe life into standards-based lessons based on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core Language Arts and Math. Participants in this course will also explore best practices for establishing and maintaining a positive, engaging culture of learning and fun in a garden setting. We will learn how to set the tone for equitable and inclusive instruction; garden class routines; and specific techniques to maximize student engagement and participation using Life Lab’s The Growing Classroom activity guide for grades K-6 and our newly released NGSS-aligned lessons. 

 

Opens March 8th and Closes May 7th

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

March 18th,  April 1st,  April 15th,  April 29th

Plant to Plate

Make the connection from seed to table in this empowering course! Using tried-and-true Life Lab lessons and recipes for grades K-8, participants will explore effective ways to teach nutrition and encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables through hands-on garden-based activities. We will demonstrate important routines for preparing and enjoying healthy food with kids such as, harvesting from the garden, kitchen and garden tool safety, and group and materials management. We will also learn different approaches to crop planning, composting and regenerative agriculture that inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.

 

Opens May 10th and Closes July 9th

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

May 20th, June 3rd, June 17th, July 1st

School Garden Program Sustainability

Why do some school gardens take root and become well-established, while others struggle? In this course, we will discuss key elements of building a strong school garden culture. 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.

 

Opens Sept 7th and Closes November 5th

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

Sept 16th, Sept 30th, October 14, October 28

Audience

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

Capacity

24 participants

Cost

$1400 for 4 courses

  • 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 admin@lifelab.org 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 admin@lifelab.org 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 admin@lifelab.org.  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.

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