Professional Development

We're growing more than just plants in our gardens! Check out these opportunities to grow your skills and knowledge in gardening with youth. Skip to a category that interests you or scroll to view all professional development opportunities.


Please note that these opportunities are recommended by the Kids Garden Community but hosted by our fellow youth gardening organizations. If you have questions, please reach out to the specific organization. 

adult gardening with kids in a raised bed

Virtual and Offered Anytime

Landscape Design for Youth Gardens e-Course

Cost: $25

Hosted by: KidsGardening

Description: A youth garden provides opportunities for kids to play, learn, and grow through plant-based and garden-based activities. But how do we design youth gardens to facilitate play, learning, and engagement for all kids? In this course, instructors will introduce participants to the basic steps and elements of landscape design that can be used to plan a youth-friendly garden that is engaging and appealing to youth and their communities. The focus will be on the practical application of basic design techniques to help new-to-youth gardening educators, community volunteers/leaders, and family members start a gardening journey with the kids in their lives.

Format: This course includes 8 pre-recorded classes so students can pace their own learning over the course of 12 weeks. Each class module also includes a recommended reading and an optional assignment. At the end of each class, students are asked to complete an evaluation survey. A community discussion board is available for students to interact with each other and the course instructor.

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Virtual and Offered at Specific Times

Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator Program

Cost: $1,400

Hosted by: Life Lab

Description: Building on Life Lab’s 40 years of experience in the school garden movement, we’ve updated and put together a virtual course that will guide and support K-6 grade educators in becoming a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator! Throughout four courses, participants will learn gardening tips and tricks, how to breathe life into standards-based lessons, how to build a strong school garden culture, and so much more. 

Format: This 16 week long course includes: 

  • Synchronous virtual sessions that include discussions, sharing of resources, hands-on demonstration lessons, and community building. These sessions meet live, once a week. 

  • Three 1-on-1 coaching sessions that include specific feedback and reflection questions to support your teaching practice. 

  • Asynchronous content that can be completed on your own time 

Dates: Next cohort will be offered in fall 2024.

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Teaching in Nature’s Classroom Online Course

Cost: Free

Hosted by: Rooted, Life Lab, and the Wisconsin School Garden Network

Description: This course, developed as a companion for the book Teaching in Nature’s Classroom: Principles of Garden-Based Education, is an opportunity for educators new to outdoor and garden-based learning, as well as educators who are experienced in the field, to consider best practices and reflect on their own teaching practice in outdoor learning environments, with a focus on school and community youth gardens. Upon completion of this 30-hour course, participants will receive a certificate of completion.

Format: Online via Google Classroom, completed at your own pace

Dates: Fall and spring course options

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School Garden Coordinator Certificate Training

Cost: $300

Hosted by: Growing Gardens

Description: This unique program has been thoughtfully designed and developed to give you the knowledge, resources and inspiration to implement and maintain an edible school garden built on a foundation of broad community involvement and support. By the end of this program's 6 modules, you will gain the insight and knowledge to: 

  • Engage diverse stakeholders in a school community in a collective planning process for a sustainable program.
  • Explore the elements of school garden infrastructure and planting for the school year. Take virtual tours of multiple school gardens and learn via discussions and interactive activities.
  • Teach in the school garden, from curriculum selection to outdoor class management. Several demonstration lessons will be shared.
  • Facilitate cooking with children, understand food safety guidelines and see how you can incorporate the garden into the school’s cafeteria.

Examine the long-term financial and program sustainability of school gardens.

Format: This is an 8-week, asynchronous online course. Each week there will be asynchronous materials (videos, virtual school garden tours, presentations) and an optional live discussion session.

Dates: Check for upcoming sessions.

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Life Lab Workshops at UC Santa Cruz

Cost: $200 per day (financial assistance available)

Hosted by: Life Lab

Location: Life Lab’s Garden Classroom on the UC Santa Cruz campus in California

Description: Life Lab is a leader in school garden education and offers several in-person training workshops for classroom teachers and garden educators. Come to a workshop in the model Garden Classroom to get inspiration and information on bringing learning to life in the garden! Current scheduled workshops:

  • The Growing Classroom Workshop

  • Next Generation Science in the Garden

  • Plant to Plate

Format: Workshops run 9:30-3:30 and typically include a garden tour, discussions, and hands-on activities; continuing educations credits are available

Dates: Upcoming workshops are posted on the Life Lab site and announced via email

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Edible Schoolyard Summer Training

Cost: TBD

Hosted by: The Edible Schoolyard Project

Description: Summer Training is designed to serve educators and program leaders who are seeking to provide joyful and engaging learning experiences in gardening and cooking classes. The 2024 Edible Schoolyard Summer Training will be held on Thursday, June 20, to Friday, June 21. The training is a two-day interactive professional development experience at our program site in Berkeley, California. The training is for teachers, educators, and administrators working with youth and food. 

Format: The 2024 Training will be in-person in Berkeley, CA. Prior virtual trainings are available to access for free online.

Dates: June 20-21, 2024

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Conferences and Networking Events

Growing School Gardens Summit

Cost: $450 Registration, $190 Per Room Per Night

Hosted by: Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, Life Lab, and the School Garden Support Organization Network

Location: San Diego, CA

Description: This is a national gathering of ~500 school garden support professionals designed to support our shared work to strengthen the school garden movement at local and national levels so that all children and youth can have vibrant, resilient school garden programs. Attendees share diverse perspectives and take home inspiring ideas and innovations on building and sustaining vibrant and resilient programs.

Format: In-person sessions/workshops at the Summit venue, networking opportunities, and garden tours

Dates: March 15-18, 2024

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National Children & Youth Garden Symposium

Cost: $300-$425, single-day registration also available

Hosted by: American Horticultural Society

Location: Knoxville, TN

Description: Every year, the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium brings together educators, landscape architects and designers, staff at botanic gardens, non-profits, and more from around the country who are all working to engage children with gardens and the natural world that surrounds them. Begun over 30 years ago, the symposium explores and promotes the many opportunities offered by children’s gardens: helping children develop social skills, enhancing school curricula, bringing families together, and creating an awareness of the link between nature and our food, clothing, and shelter.

Format: In-person sessions/workshops at the Symposium venue, networking opportunities, and garden tours

Dates: July 12-15, 2023

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