VALLEY — Every year, we have parents who wonder why their young children can’t participate in the 4-H club program. The traditional 4-H youth development program is designed to bring life skills to kids ages 8 to 18 through project work. Kids select projects based on their interests, meet with their clubs, and show off their work at the fair each year.
Though kids ages 5 to 7 might be interested in participating, research shows that they have very different developmental needs than their older peers. Programs for these young kids should instead focus on social interaction, physical mastery, making choices and learning to learn.
The good news is that, though kids ages 5 to 7 can’t participate in our traditional club program, or compete at fair, we have an activity-based program built just for them. The Cloverbuds program promotes healthy development and life skill building through hands-on meetings, full of activities and fun.
Cloverbud activities are geared to younger kids who have shorter attention spans. Each meeting is made up of short activity blocks that feature games, crafts, and other small group activities. The overall focus is on cooperative learning.
Activities are also non-competitive. Young kids who are still developing their self-identity can benefit from non-competitive environments where they can work on their confidence, creativity, and competence. While Cloverbuds don’t have their projects judged for awards at the county fair, they can display them there, get participation ribbons, and get feedback on ways they can improve.
When we plan Cloverbud programming, we also make sure it’s designed for the ages and abilities of the youth. We want them to be able to feel a sense of mastery and discovery. Above all, we also try to ensure youth are safe to learn and grow.
Our Cloverbuds program kicks off for the year on Saturday, December 9. Our first meeting will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Extension office in Monte Vista. Subsequent meetings will be held the first Saturday of the month at the same time. Each meeting will feature activities designed for youth ages 5 to 7 and related to a 4-H project.
The December meeting will focus on the Global Citizenship project. We’ll be learning about holidays around the world, through crafts, games and other activities. Cost is $10 per child, and includes a snack.
If your child would like to participate in the Cloverbuds program, or attend our first meeting, contact the Extension office to RSVP. Families should register to participate no later than December 6 by calling our office at 719-852-7381, or via email at [email protected] We’d love to see your kids there to take advantage of this program, designed just for them.
Amy Henschen is the 4-H Youth Development Agent for Colorado State University Extension. To find out more about Extension and the 4-H program visit http://sanluisvalley.colostate.edu or call 719-852-7381. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.