Cloverbud programs Part 7: Providing a solid foundation for youth animal science programs

Cloverbud programs should include activity-based experiences and be cooperative learning centered.

The Cloverbud program’s goal is to promote healthy development in children by enhancing life skills such as social-interaction, self-esteem, making choices and learning to learn. Ohio State University Extension specialist Scott Scheer has effectively outlined 10 parameters for successful Cloverbud programs in Ohio. Because of program differences between states, nine of those parameters are extremely applicable in Michigan 4-H programs.

This final article in this series from Michigan State University Extension will recap the nine parameters of an effective Cloverbud program and provide a series of questions volunteers and staff can ask themselves about their Cloverbud program to ensure that it is meeting the nine program parameters.

From previous articles, Scheer outlined that to have a successful Cloverbud program, the following programming parameters should be met:

  • Programs are short term and activity based.
  • Cooperative learning centered.
  • Non-competitive.
  • Activities are developmentally age appropriate.
  • Activities are safe for children.
  • Cloverbud activities are distinctly different from 9- to-19-year-old programming.
  • Curricula used is success oriented.
  • Animals and animal subject matter contribute to Cloverbud objectives.
  • Activities are fun, positive and focus on the five general life skill areas through the experiential learning cycle.

When developing a new or tweaking an existing Cloverbud program, Sheer encourages staff persons and volunteers to ask themselves the following yes or no questions to determine if they are on track in meeting the programming parameters:

  • Is it activity-based and short termed?
  • Does it involve cooperative learning in which children work with and not against each other?
  • Is it non-competitive and are children equally recognized?
  • Is the activity safe?
  • Is the activity developmentally age appropriate, keeping in mind their physical, social, mental and emotional characteristics?
  • Is the activity intended for Cloverbud children as opposed to members in the 9- to-19-year-old program?
  • Are the curricula success oriented? Can the children do the activities successfully?
  • Does the animal material contribute to Cloverbud objectives and parameters?
  • Is the activity fun, positive and focuses on the five life skill areas through the experiential learning cycle?

If you can answer a resounding “yes” to all of these questions, you are on the road to an awesome Cloverbud program, where youth can develop that foundation to build their self-esteem and skill set!

Other articles in this series:

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