About the Position
The Garden Educator is an integral part of Life Lab’s Pajaro Valley School Gardens Program team, working closely with the Pajaro Valley School Gardens Program Coordinator and three other Garden Educators.
The Garden Educator reports to the Pajaro Valley School Gardens Program Coordinator. The work schedule is aligned with the bell schedule of each school. Typical hours are Monday-Friday 8am-4:00pm and will include very occasional weekend work for events.
The PV Garden Educator is a vital part of the school community for two of Life Lab’s partner elementary schools; Ohlone Elementary and H.A. Hyde Elementary Schools. The Garden Educator will be responsible for leading garden-based science, environmental literacy, and nutrition education lessons while caring for both garden classrooms. On-going training, mentorship, and peer-to-peer learning provided.
Next Generation Science Standards in the Garden Program Leader (50%)
Lead Next Generation Science lessons (curriculum and training provided by Life Lab) to our Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders at the two partner schools in the Fall and Spring seasons.
Maintain the physical garden space with the help of interns and fellow service members (a cohort of 4 Service Members and 1 Coordinator).
Attend school-wide events such as Back-to-School Night to conduct outreach and promote programs within each school community.
Kids Cook: Nutrition Education and Cooking Skills Program Leader (25%)
Lead Nutrition Education and Hands-On Cooking Skills classes for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms in the Winter season. Program is conducted indoors.
Training and curriculum is provided.
School Community Culture (10%)
Assist with school-wide taste tests in the cafeteria.
Host 2 garden workdays per year.
Attend school site meetings.
Trainings and Staff Meetings (15%)
Attending Life Lab trainings on Outdoor Classroom Management, NGSS lesson development, and other relevant topics. (Cost is covered by Life Lab).
PV Garden Team meetings with fellow service members.
Attend Life Lab staff meetings and retreats.
We’re looking for an energetic, skilled and dedicated educator who loves working with elementary-age children (aged 4 years through 12 years old), with passion and commitment to support our programs and help shape Life Lab’s programs for sustainability and future growth.
Preferred Qualities and Skills we are seeking in the Garden Educator are:
- Experience teaching and working with elementary-age students in an outdoor public school setting (training provided).
- A passion for Life Lab’s mission and working with young children in an educational setting.
- A love of nature, science, and healthy foods.
- A deep commitment to social justice, cross-cultural relevancy, and equity and inclusion.
- Competency in Spanish is highly desirable, but not required.
- Clear and prompt communication.
- Experience prioritizing and managing projects.
- Flexibility and a team player mentality.
About the Location
Most of the Garden Educator’s work time will be spent at school sites, H.A. Hyde Elementary and Ohlone Elementary in Watsonville, CA. The Life Lab office is located in an office trailer on the UC Santa Cruz farm, a 5-10 minute walk on a dirt path from the nearest parking lot. Closer parking is available for anyone with a disabled parking placard, and Life Lab makes reasonable accommodation for applicants and employees with known physical or mental disabilities. In keeping with the working farm environment, dress is casual. The schools and the Life Lab office and surrounding Garden Classroom and farm are nonsmoking areas.
About Life Lab
Life Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with its main office on the farm of the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Life Lab cultivates children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based programs.
Founded in 1979, Life Lab is a pioneer and national leader in garden-based learning, providing programs, training, and curriculum to inspire children locally and nationally. We serve more than 6,000 children each year through programs at partner elementary schools across Santa Cruz County and through field trips and day camps in our Garden Classroom in Santa Cruz and our Blooming Classroom in Watsonville. Through professional development workshops here and around the U.S., curriculum sales, and a dynamic national knowledge network, Life Lab also positively impacts the lives of more than 500,000 children across the U.S. annually.
Life Lab values collaboration, authentic communication, connection with people and nature, and open, inquiring minds. We also value individual initiative within a team culture and know that having a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives on our team improves our decision-making. We are serving increasingly diverse student populations, both directly in our partner schools and indirectly through the teachers we train, and we recognize that staff members whose identities and lived experiences are relevant to those of the students we serve help us have the greatest impact. Therefore, we strongly encourage people of all backgrounds, identities and perspectives to apply for this position, and we particularly encourage applicants with life experiences similar to those of the children we serve.
Life Lab is committed to a policy of non-discrimination as an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment candidates and employees will be considered and managed without regard to race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other basis in accordance with applicable law.