Louisiana Cloverbuds focuses on the youngest 4-H’ers


Allen Parish 4-H agent Brooke Lafargue conducts a lesson on manners with third graders.

Louisiana 4-H strives to meet the needs of all youth, and for the youngest 4-H'ers, Cloverbuds is a developmentally appropriate program that serves children in kindergarten through third grade, creating experiences that meet the individual needs of younger children.

Participation in 4-H as a Cloverbud is not intended to be a “mini-4-H” experience, but rather a special membership category focused on team building, cooperation and noncompetitive activity.

At the suggestion of her parish superintendent, Evangeline Parish 4-H agent Kim Deville enrolled every third grade student in Cloverbuds, where she provided a series of six wetlands lessons for youth to learn about the scientific method and to help them understand the value of Louisiana’s coast.

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“I like that Cloverbuds is education-based and allows youth to learn about science and 4-H at the same time,” Deville said.

Deville has observed that youth in the 4-H Cloverbuds program are more likely to join traditional 4-H clubs in her parish as they get older.

Sabine Parish 4-H agent Nan Arthur has also experienced success with the Cloverbuds curriculum. A longtime parish volunteer and a former 4-H volunteer parent starte a Cloverbud program with the support of the parish extension agents. The Sabine 4-H Cloverbud Club meets monthly, averaging 70 youth and their parents.

Each meeting features an interactive educational lesson. One of the Cloverbuds’ favorite club meetings is in February, when a Mardi Gras krewe member from a local organization teaches a lesson on the history of Mardi Gras, and the participants design a Mardi Gras mask and enjoy king cake. In Sabine Parish, Cloverbud members typically join 4-H clubs when they reach fourth grade because of their prior experiences with the Cloverbuds program.

In 2018, 4-H agents in seven parishes collaborated to teach agriculture awareness lessons to approximately 650 Cloverbud youth.

During the 2019-2020 school year, Louisiana 4-H is expanding its 4-H Cloverbuds reach by conducting social emotional development lessons in 20 parishes across the state. Each parish agent has been asked to find a school or after-school audience and to teach the children the importance of celebrating individuality, practicing manners, using decision-making skills, dealing with disappointment, understanding disability and being sensitive to diversity.

The overall objective is to foster acceptance of all people while acknowledging our differences. This program is estimated to reach 1,000 Cloverbuds in its pilot year.

4 Your Info

According to the National 4-H Council, the overall purpose of the 4-H Cloverbuds program is to foster the development of life skills that are essential for the cognitive, social, emotional and physical maturation of children. Cloverbuds provides greater participation opportunities, fosters volunteerism and introduces 4-H to families at an earlier age.

2/11/2020 3:46:34 PM
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