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

Reviewing the nine program parameters to ensure Cloverbud success.

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 Ohio State University, has outlined 10 parameters for successful Cloverbud programs in Ohio. Because of program differences between states, nine of those parameters are applicable in Michigan 4-H programs through Michigan State University Extension. This final article will recap the nine parameters of an effective Cloverbud program and provide a series of questions that 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 and volunteers to ask themselves the following “yes” or “no” questions to determine if they are on track in meeting the programming parameters:

1)       Is it activity based and short-term?

2)      Does it involve cooperative learning in which children work with and not against each other?

3)      Is it non-competitive and are children equally recognized?

4)      Is the activity safe?

5)      Is the activity developmentally age appropriate keeping in mind their physical, social, mental, and emotional characteristics?

6)      Is the activity intended for Cloverbud children, as opposed to members in the 9-to-19 year old program?

7)      Is the curricula success oriented? Can the children do the activities successfully?

8)      Does the animal material contribute to Cloverbud objectives and parameters?

9)      Is the activity fun, positive and focus 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.

See the earlier installments of this article series by clicking on the links below:

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