Cloverbud programs set the stage for success – Part 5

Cloverbud programs are distinctly different than programming geared towards 9- to 19-year-olds, utilizing success-oriented curricula.

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. Scott Scheer, Extension specialist at The Ohio State University, has effectively outlined ten 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 article in the series will focus on the distinct difference between programs geared towards 5- to 8-year-olds versus those geared towards 9- to 19-year-olds, and how animals and animal subject matter should contribute to Cloverbud objectives and parameters.

Children aged 5 to 8 years-old can be better positioned to have a successful learning experience when the programs are presented differently than the program for 9 to 19 year-old youth.

First, the type of learning for Cloverbuds should be activity centered, rather than project centered. Activities should focus on developing hand eye coordination, cognitive abilities, and life skills.

Second, the type of instruction is leader directed rather than self-study or self directed, as is common for 9 to 10 year olds. Children will follow the direction of their leader in order to complete tasks and activities that build their confidence and skill.

Third, Cloverbuds should be recognized for their participation rather than pushed in a direction that associates success with “winners” and “losers” of an activity.

Lastly, Cloverbuds should utilize activity manuals rather than project manuals for their learning as they offer a wider litany of activities that focus on the child’s development rather than project development.

Being intentional about ensuring that there is a distinct difference between 5 to 8 year old programming and 9 to 19 year old programming will strengthen the Cloverbud program and help volunteers achieve their intended goals for Cloverbuds. The curricula that we utilize in Cloverbud programming must be success oriented, allowing children to gain confidence and promote their self-esteem by mastering Cloverbud activities. Incorporating cooperative learning and non-competative settings creates the ideal situation for children to experience success. By creating opportunities for children to be successful, we are building their self-esteem and optimism, which are by-products of doing well and being successful.

The next article in this series will focus on incorporating animals and animal subject matter into Cloverbud programming and positive activities that focus on five key life skills.

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