4-H curriculum provides additional learning opportunities in military youth programs

Military programs and 4-H curriculum create unique learning opportunities that help youth build crucial life skills for success later on in life.

The 4-H Military Partnership project is a federal partnership between 4-H National Headquarters at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Army Child and Youth School Services (CYSS), Airforce Airman and Family Services and Navy Family Readiness that helps to support positive youth development education for youth that have a parent or family member serving in the military.  The partnership helps to provide consistent positive youth development programming on military installations across the world and encourages 4-H to support military connected youth within their own communities. How can 4-H help your military program even if it’s not located on an installation? A great place to start is by checking out the 4-H curriculum that is available on the National 4-H website.

4-H curriculum is a great addition to any military program because they are easy-to-use and easy-to-implement into existing programs. All 4-H curriculums are focused on the three National Mission Mandates of science, healthy living and citizenship. Each curriculum has hands-on activities for youth that are designed to build valuable life skills and help them apply what they learn to other real-world situations.

Two great options for sampling the many activities and curriculum that 4-H has to offer include "Exploring the Treasures of 4-H” and “Extraordinary Learning Opportunities: A Sample of 4-H Afterschool Activities.” Both of these curriculums give programs an opportunity to experience fun, hands-on 4-H activities in a way that works for their current programming. Each of these options can help enhance positive youth development experiences within military programs.

Exploring the Treasures of 4-H is designed to be used with youth in grades two through four. The curriculum package comes with a helper’s guide and a youth guide. The helper’s guide gives background information on working with this age range of youth, developing life skills and how to use the “learn by doing” method known as the “Experiential Learning Model." There are several broad topic areas that are addressed in the Exploring the Treasures of 4-H curriculum which gives programs flexibility to include them with already existing lesson plans or activities or use them as stand-alone activities.

These topic areas include:

  • Citizenship and Civic Education
  • Communications and Expressive Arts
  • Consumer and Family Sciences
  • Environmental Education and Earth Sciences
  • Healthy Lifestyle Education
  • Personal Development and Leadership
  • Plants and Animals
  • Science and Technology

Each broad topic area has several hands-on learning activities that help to highlight the importance of that topic and give youth the opportunity to learn new life skills by doing the activity and then talking about what they learned and how they might apply what they just did to other real-world situations. There is also background information on the specific activities as well as what skills the youth will be building and learning while participating in the activity.

Extraordinary Learning Opportunities: A Sample of 4-H Afterschool Activities is designed to be used with various ages from four to 18-years of age. The curriculum package comes with one resource guide that includes background information on child development, how to use the “learn by doing” method and the importance of teaching life skills.

These topic areas include:

  • Physical Development, Health and Fitness
  • Cognitive Development and Academic Success
  • Social, Emotional and Character Development
  • Artistic and Creative Expression
  • Family Living Skills
  • Environmental and Global Awareness
  • Careers, Leadership and Community Involvement

Each activity comes with learning objectives, life skills learned, age the activity is appropriate for, how long the activity will take, what type of setting the activity requires and the materials that will be needed.

4-H curriculum can greatly enhance the positive youth development educational experiences within military youth programs. They can provide additional learning opportunities for use with existing lessons or programs that can help youth build crucial life skills that will help them succeed in life. To find out more about what types of curriculum are available through 4-H please visit 4-H Youth Development.

More information about local Michigan 4-H Youth development training can be found online. 

For more information on 4-H Military Partnership and resources available please visit their website.

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