Life Lab

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

Educator Certification Program:

Become a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator!


Building on Life Lab’s 40 years of experience in the school garden movement, we’ve updated and put together a series of 4 virtual courses that will guide and support educators in becoming a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator. Upon completion of the full series of 4 courses, participants will receive a certificate and the distinction of being a Life Lab – Certified Garden Educator! Due to demand, educators must sign up for the full series.  We are not offering individual course sign-ups at this time.

$1,400 for all 4 courses and the certification


Registration Opens January 25th, 2022

Tiny Garden Cracker

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.  

Live Sessions:

Wednesdays 3:30 - 5:00 PST

March 9th

March 16th

March 23rd

March 30th

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. 

Live Sessions:

Wednesdays 3:30 - 5:00 PST

April 6th

April 13th

April 20th

April 27th

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.

Live Sessions:

Wednesdays 3:30 - 5:00 PST

May 4th

May 11th

May 18th

May 25th

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.

Live Sessions:

Wednesdays 3:30 - 5:00 PST

June 1st

June 8th 

June 15th

June 22nd

Registration Opens January 25th, 2022


Students’ Enthusiasm

Saw marked improvements in students’ enthusiasm for learning after attending our workshops, in 2019.


Social & Emotional Skills

Saw marked improvements in students’ social and emotional skills (i.e. interpersonal skills, responsibility, cooperation) after attending our workshops, in 2019.

Educators Trained

*Number reflects participants of in-person workshops, virtual workshops and webinars since 2013

Students Reached

*Number reflects students reached as reported by participants of in-person workshops, virtual workshops and webinars since 2016

Join the Movement!

At Life Lab, we believe the world needs informed, inspired, creative, and collaborative leaders, ready with the skills and the motivation they need to work for justice, sustainability, and healthy communities. And we believe that the garden is an ideal space for growing just such leaders! Now, more than ever, we need dedicated educators to lead children in cultivating a love of learning, healthy food and connection to our natural world through garden-based education. 

Upon completion of the 4 courses, participants will receive a certificate and the distinction of being a Life Lab-Certified Garden Educator.

The courses are designed to support leading students in face-to-face learning, however modifications for potential distance learning opportunities will be embedded in each course while COVID restrictions are still a reality. University of the Pacific graduate education credits are available (8 credits for the entire certification series)

Course Facilitators

Sara comes to Life Lab after working as a public school science teacher, science instructional coach and science education researcher for the past 14 years. Sara brings expertise in implementing and facilitating NGSS-aligned lessons for diverse learners in the classroom and other informal spaces and strongly believes in making science accessible to all students through place-based learning.
Sara Severance
Lead Educator
Whitney Cohen is a teacher, trainer, and author with tremendous commitment to, and expertise in, place-based education; student-led inquiry; strategies for engaging a diverse student population; school gardens; and the intersection between environmental education, Common Core and Next Generation academic content standards, and the public school system.
Whitney Cohen
Cara began her current position at Life Lab in 2014, but has worked with Life Lab in a variety of roles since 2007. She brings 8 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-Alexandra Sundell
Aislíng leads our team of Life Lab Educators to bring the Partner Schools Program to life at seven elementary schools in Pajaro Valley Unified School District! Our K-2nd graders are engaged in hands-on NextGen Science in their very own life laboratories on campus; sparking the curiosity of tomorrow’s scientists! Exploring mystery boxes and celery experiments to unearth prior knowledge to form a bridge to our new discoveries and cultivating a love of nature, one critter at a time! Our 3rd-5th graders participate in our Kids Cook Program where each student learns to prepare healthy snacks for their classroom communities and beyond; creating adventurous eaters, one bite at a time!
Aislíng Mitchell


Thanks for joining Life Lab in supporting garden-based education!

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