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

[ps2id id=’section-1′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-2′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-3′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-4′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-5′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-6′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-7′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-8′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-9′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-13′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-10′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-11′ target=”/]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.

[ps2id id=’section-12′ target=”/]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.

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1 week ago

Life Lab

Thank you all that joined us for our Spring Benefit💚 Our esteemed guest speakers Dr Dilafruz Williams and Paco Estrada shared moving testimony to the proven impacts of school garden education. We are thankful to have the opportunity to inspire children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden based education. We are thankful for our local and national communities. We are thankful for each and every one of you! #supportschoolgardens #thewholechild #bettertogether #lifelab #interconnected #healthyfood #nature #loveoflearning #donate

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1 week ago

Readers To Eaters

Thrilled that The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter is the SC Ag in the Classroom May Book of the Month selection, just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week and United Nations World Bee Day. (WBD info: bit.ly/3cF6i2d) See book creator Shabazz Larkin read the book on PBSThirteen WNET New York‘s "Let’s Learn." bit.ly/32LQ0S0..#Bees #Pollinators #Pollination #SaveTheBees #GiveBeesAChance #BeeFear #BeeLove #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #FarmToSchool #TeacherAppreciationWeek #WorldBeeDay #SchoolGarden #GardenEducation #EnvironmentalEducation #ClimateEducation #OutdoorEducation #EnvironmentalDiversity #DiverseBooksNational Agriculture in the Classroom American Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureNC Farm Bureau "Ag in the Classroom"California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (CFAITC) Washington Ag in the Classroom The Bee Cause Project South Carolina 4-H Youth Development Clemson Extension School & Community GardeningSouth Carolina 4-H Youth Development South Carolina State Library Charleston County Public LibraryLife Lab Big Green Pilot Light FoodCorpsHAPPY TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK! {Read through our post for giveaway info!}It’s already May, and you know what the new month brings – a NEW featured book of the month! Shabazz Larkins’ "The Thing About Bees" is a wonderful tribute to the bees that pollinate the foods we love to eat. Check out our lesson plan here: www.scfb.org/book-of-the-monthALSO – this is your last chance to sign up for our "All About Bees" workshop TOMORROW! us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZItc-qoqT4iGtF9ZoqqLnlWDGx4q2Cn-1CfAND LAST, but certainly not least, a giveaway for a deserving teacher! Every day this week we will post a giveaway for Teacher Appreciation Week. Today’s prize will be a free subscription for one year to our Ag Book of the Month program. Comment below with your school and grade level to enter today’s drawing!

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2 weeks ago

Readers To Eaters

Celebrating last day of National Poetry Month and National Garden Month with "I Am A Farmer" from A Moose Boosh: A Few Choice Words About Food by Shabazz Larkin. bit.ly/3cKEucz• "Readers and eaters are taken on a comical romp through the world of food using poetry and a visual feast of photographs enhanced with playful doodles."— American Library Association Notable Children’s Book• "Varied in style and tone —much like food itself—the witty, quirky poems take on many different topics . . . This is a charming and original book that should start some quality conversation about food."—School Library Journal..#NationalGardenMonth #NationalPoetryMonth #FoodPoetry #FoodPoem #IAmAFarmer #Farming #UrbanFarmer #YoungFarmer #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #FarmToSchool #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #DiverseBooks National Agriculture in the ClassroomAmerican Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureNational Farm to School NetworkFoodCorps Pilot Light Common Threads Big Green Harlem Grown Green Bronx Machine DC Grown The Food Trust Detroit Hives Ron Finley Brown Bookshelf The Family Dinner Project Whole Kids Foundation The Bee Cause Project Life LabClemson Extension School & Community GardeningThe Edible Schoolyard Project Edible Schoolyard NYC Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy

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2 weeks ago

Nikki Patterson

Join me tomorrow for an inspiring celebration of the beautiful impacts and interconnections cultivated through school gardens. This one hour zoom fundraiser begins at 11🌱Please give as you can. #supportschoolgardens #schoolgardeneducation #LifeLab Life Lab 🌻 register at www.LifeLab.org/spring-benefit

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

🌸 Growing Gardens of Hope! 🌸We are so excited for Life Lab’s Spring Benefit Brunch this Saturday at 11am! We are delighted to share our guest speakers: Dilafruz Williams and Francisco “Paco” Estrada, who will speak on the interconnected relationships cultivated through school garden education and the healing, inspirational impact on students, families, and our broader community.Dr. Dilafruz Williams is Professor and co-founder of Leadership for Sustainability Education. Dilafruz’s recent research has focused extensively on garden-based education – its conceptualization and effectiveness in engagement of children and youth that enhances their holistic and academic learning. She directs the NSF-funded project: Science in the Learning Gardens. She has studied school gardens across 12 states in the USA and in many countries across continents. Dilafruz’s passion for gardens is evident in her own delight and engagement with soil and life in its multitude of manifestations of wonders and mystery. 🌱 Register today! 🌱lifelab.org/spring-benefit/

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

The Life Lab Spring Benefit Brunch Menu is available now! 🌻 Choose from selected items provided by our generous community partners @charlie_hong_kong @newleafcmarket @companionbakeshop @steamerlanesupply 🌱Limited inventory available! Purchase at LifeLab.org/spring-benefit/#menu

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Life Lab celebrates Earth Day every day!🌎 🌱 #EarthDay #schoolgardens #gardensofhope

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3 weeks ago

Readers To Eaters

Happy Earth Day, National Environmental Education Week and National Garden Month!Good read for young environmentalists & gardeners: Zora’s Zucchini and the Spanish edition, LAS CALABACITAS DE ZORA. bit.ly/3eCjEOh"We’ll never make headway with the pressing environmental issues of our time—such as climate change, community-building and food waste—without brilliant, fun little books like Zora’s Zucchini."—EcoConsumer • See author Katherine Pryor read the book with conversation starter on food waste. bit.ly/3eRGH7m• Check out Pilot Light‘s new lesson plan for the book, with theme on "Sharing Food with Our Community" for Early Childhood and K – 2 English Language Arts. bit.ly/3gtKRG8• Hear LAS CALABACITAS DE ZORA, new in audiobook from Live Oak Media. bit.ly/32Hc9k5..#EarthDay #NationalEnvironmentalEducationWeek #NationalGardenMonth #ClimateActionMonth #EnvironmentalEducation #GardenEducation #KidsGardening #ClimateAction #FoodShare #FoodWaste #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #EarlyChildhood #LanguageArts #FarmToSchool #SchoolGarden #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #WIC #SNAPEdJunior Master Gardener Program The American Horticultural Society Life Lab FoodCorps KidsGardening.org The Edible Schoolyard Project Whole Kids Foundation Chef Ann FoundationNational WIC Association California WIC Association

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Stock up your Garden Classroom

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
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