4-H in the Classrooms
4-H School Enrichment programs bring engaging, hands-on learning to the classroom during the school year. Nancy Carr, 4-H School Enrichment Coordinator worked with over 40 schools during the 2018-19 school year and reach over 5,500 youth with her programming.
Here is what Nancy shared about the program:
Impact on Learning
I thoroughly enjoy my interaction with elementary students and teachers. I have so many wonderful stories associated with my classroom experiences over the years.
Here is a favorite story of mine from the 4-H Embryology program that we offer: A teacher shared that one day, a mother came in and said, “What are you doing differently in your class now?” The teacher said at first she didn’t know what it would be but then she said: “We have an incubator and we will be hatching baby chicks in 21 days.” In looking over at the incubator, there was the child looking at the incubator very intently. The mother said “Up until now, I have fought with my son to come to school. He would not get out of bed, did not want to eat breakfast or get dress. Now he is up, eats breakfast, gets dressed and hurries me to get him to school.” In this program, the students take an active part in turning the eggs hourly, monitoring the temperature, and once the baby chicks hatch, the students are responsible for providing food and freshwater. The program not only helps youth learn the life cycle of an animal but it also develops character.
In the Butterfly Garden program, the youth study the caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly. At one school, I participated in their butterfly release when I picked up my Butterfly Garden. A little kindergarten boy came up to me with his eyes all lit up, crossed his heart and crooned “This is my all-time favorite this year."
I like the many partnerships developed over the years with different groups. Partnerships give us an opportunity to tap into the expertise of others to bring rich learning experiences for the classroom.
For teachers utilizing the Honey Bee or Butterfly Garden Kit, Extension Master Gardeners’ bureau of volunteers visit classrooms and provide education on the impact of insects on the ecosystem and what we can do to support them.
I was visiting with a new neighbor to me on a street over from mine. When I told the Dad that I do school enrichment in elementary schools, the Dad said: “Come here I want to show you something." He showed me a flower bed that his son planted to attract butterflies because of what all he learned when I spoke to his classroom.” The son wanted a waystation for migrating butterflies.
Through our partnership with the Southwest Dairy Farmers, we are able to offer Mobile Dairy Classrooms to schools. In this program, the Southwest Dairy Farmers bring in a trailer housing a Dairy Cow and the youth have an opportunity to learn about the dairy industry and watch a live milking demonstration.
My husband and I were on an airport shuttle once and there was a family from Olathe on the shuttle. In visiting with the family, I found out what school the kids went to and mentioned I had just done the Mobile Dairy Classroom for that school. The mother said “Thank you. Our daughter would not drink milk and now she will! She came home and shared a lot of information about milk production.”
How can you bring 4-H School Enrichment to your school?
School enrichment program and kits are geared towards elementary education. The kits support Next Generation Science Standards for Kansas and provide an opportunity for youth to participate in inquiry-based learning. For more information, visit https://www.johnson.k-state.edu/4-h/school-enrichment-program.html or contact Nancy at Nancy.Carr@jocogov.org.