Thank you for agreeing to serve as a volunteer for the 4-H Primary

By Earl Graham,2014-06-17 21:36
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Thank you for agreeing to serve as a volunteer for the 4-H Primary

     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide



    Thank you for agreeing to serve as a volunteer for the 4-H Primary Member Program. You will find this age member full of excitement and curiosity. Primary members are impressionable and respond to exciting and creative activities. This is a critical stage in the development of the young child and an excellent time to enhance a child‟s learning experiences in self-perception.

    Researchers estimate that children experience half of their learning before four years of age, another 30 percent before the age of eight, and only 20 percent during the remaining years of their education. Therefore, it is important to offer non-formal, exploratory programs focusing on the developmental needs of younger children.

    As a primary member volunteer leader you will foster the healthy development of young children and help them to become self-directed, contributing members of society.


    Primary members are youth, between the ages of five and eight, enrolled in the 4-H program. Primary members must be at least five years old or in kindergarten and not older than 8 years or in the 3rd grade by January 1 of the program year. Home-schooled children enroll based on their chronological age as of January 1.


    The purpose of the 4-H Primary Member Program is to assist youth in becoming competent, caring, and contributing citizens. Participating 4-H primary age youth will:

    ; Develop competencies in life skills in the areas of self-understanding, social

    interaction, decision-making, learning to learn, and mastering physical skills.

    ; Gain knowledge and skills in sciences, literature, and the arts through the

    experiential learning process.

    ; Develop positive attitudes about learning.

    ; Develop ongoing relationships with caring adults and older youth who serve as

    positive role models.

    ; Explore family and community relationships.

    ; Develop understanding of and appreciation for social and cultural diversity. (1)

    see references, page 15.

    H E A D, H E A R T, H A N D S, H E A L T H

     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide




    The 4-H Primary Member Program is designed to meet the developmental needs of five- to eight-year-old youth. It, therefore, is conducted differently than older 4-H member programs. The 4-H Primary Member Program:

    ; Uses cooperative learning.

    ; Promotes cooperation rather than competition.

    ; Is family and community focused.

    ; Emphasizes ongoing relationships between five- to eight year-olds and caring

    adults or older youth.

    ; Is flexible and dynamic.

    ; Uses positive guidance and discipline.

    ; Is less time and activity-intensive.

    ; Promotes exploration and discovery, rather than project completion.

    ; Uses all areas of development: social, emotional, physical, and mental.

    ; Engages youth in an active rather than passive manner.

    ; Emphasizes small group rather than large group activities. (1)


As a leader of primary age members you will need to:

    ; Participate in training.

    ; Meet with other 4-H leaders or program staff.

    ; Organize and lead project meetings.

    ; Conduct an organizational meeting with parents and members.

    ; Complete the necessary enrollment forms, records, and reports.

    ; Arrange for field trips/tours and necessary transportation.

    ; Encourage members to contribute to and participate in the various 4-H activities.

    ; Follow University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) 4-H program

    policies and guidelines.


    Families are a vital part of 4-H. Their cooperation is essential. Often it is the 4-H adult volunteer leader who gets the family members and the child working together on a project. The adult volunteer leader helps link them with each other in a new sharing experience. This is one of the most important benefits that adult volunteer leaders can provide for young children and their families.


    H E A D, H E A R T, H A N D S, H E A L T H

     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide



Why is it Important to Involve Parents or Guardians?

    ; Members will like their 4-H activities better when their families are interested and


    ; They make a valuable contribution to the 4-H program and their community.

    ; They gain an understanding of 4-H, parenting, and this age group.

    ; Many parents or guardians become 4-H volunteer leaders.

4-H Adult Volunteer Leaders Can Help Parents or Guardians:

    ; Appreciate the goals of 4-H primary member clubs and programs.

    ; Learn to help children select projects.

    ; Understand project requirements.

    ; Learn to help children accept success and failure.

     Become involved with clubs. ;

    ; Assist with transportation.

    ; Have a role in special events.

How to Interest and Inform Parents or Guardians

    ; Involve them in the organization of the 4-H primary member‟s activities.

    ; Phone and/or visit with them to talk about the 4-H Primary Member Program.

    ; Invite them to all meetings and events.

    ; Plan special events.

    Talking with parents or guardians helps you know and understand your 4-H primary members. Parents or guardians also like to know about the activities of their children.


    4-H clubs and adult volunteers have several options in delivering the 4-H educational experience to primary age members.

    These include:

    ; 4-H primary members as 4-H community club members.

    ; 4-H primary members in a primary member club.

    ; 4-H primary members in project clubs or groups.

    Based on the needs and interests of the enrolling children, their families, volunteer leadership, and the community being served, counties should determine which of these, or combinations of these methods, will be most appropriate.


    H E A D, H E A R T, H A N D S, H E A L T H

     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide



Are There Tips for Including 4-H Primary Members in Club Meetings?

    Many community clubs include 4-H primary members as part of their regular programming. This is especially true when primary members are younger siblings of already participating members. This can require some additional planning to assure that the resulting experience is beneficial and rewarding for all ages of 4-H members. Primary members, because of their age, have a different set of skills, abilities, and interests, which may not always mesh with other club objectives.

Tips for Incorporating 4-H Primary Members in Club Meetings

    ; Clearly outline the different expectations for primary members at the beginning of

    the year.

    ; When some activities are not open for primary member participation, discuss the


    ; Use a buddy program, pairing older members with a primary member.

    ; Do not expect primary members to attend all meetings.

    ; Do not expect primary members to stay for the entire meeting, especially if

    meetings run long.

    ; Offer “break away” activities during the meeting just for the youngest members.

    ; Give primary members specific assignments that are appropriate for their age.

    ; Organize the meetings to include more activity offered in shorter blocks of time.

    ; Avoid excessive competitive activities at club meetings.

    Tips for Incorporating 4-H Primary Members in Club Project Meetings

    ; Clearly outline expectations for primary members, especially when different from

    other members.

    ; Offer activities that are specific to the age and abilities of the primary members.

    ; Use the age appropriate record book forms.

    ; Do not use proficiency programs with primary members.

    ; Create specific roles for primary members within your meetings (see suggestions

    that follow.)


    Age appropriate leadership roles for younger 4-H members are important. Eight leadership roles have been identified to provide an opportunity for children in this age group to assume responsibility during club or project meetings. Every child should have a designated leadership role at each meeting. Leadership roles should rotate so that each child has the opportunity to experience each role at different meetings.

    Some activities will not require all eight of these leadership roles. Adult volunteer leaders should use their judgment on assigning appropriate roles based on the activities


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     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide



    to be performed and the age group involved. Because elections are a form of competition, they should be avoided. Adult volunteer leaders should make assignments. The definitions provided below explain the responsibilities of each role. Adult volunteer leaders should explain each role to the children in terms that the children will understand.

Primary Member Officer Positions

    ; Member: Person who contributes his or her ideas and thoughts to the group.

    ; Reporter: Person who verbally summarizes the group‟s activity and reports at the

    next meeting.

    ; Recorder: Person who illustrates or outlines the group‟s activity and decisions.

    ; Collector: Person who collects and returns any supplies that are needed to

    complete the activity.

    ; Timekeeper: Person who keeps the group on task and watches for a sign from

    the leader that it is time to finish up the activity.

    ; Praiser: Person who identifies and verbalizes positive actions of individuals

    and/or the entire group.

    ; Helper: Person who offers assistance in accomplishing a task to any group


    ; Observer: Person who watches how the group works together and offers



    ; When organizing clubs just for primary members, use the following outline and

    discussion as a guide. You may want to invite other adult volunteer leaders, teen

    leaders, or resource people to assist in conducting the club meetings.

    ; Make sure the meetings are well organized. Everyone on the program should be

    well prepared and understand his or her responsibility.

    ; After several primary meetings, members may be asked to assume some of the

    responsibilities or assist with various tasks such as Opening Ceremonies and

    Roll Call.

    ; Make sure parents or guardians understand that they should try to attend the

    club meetings.

Discussion with Parents and New Members

    Take a few minutes to discuss with the parents and members meeting times, dates, and locations. Also discuss any cost that may be associated with membership in the program and the parent‟s role. Explain that the 4-H Primary Member Program is more

    interested in the healthy development of their child than in the making and exhibiting of projects. 4-H primary members will not be involved in competitive events.


    H E A D, H E A R T, H A N D S, H E A L T H

     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide



A Suggested Time Frame for Club Meetings

5 minutes Welcome

    Pledge of Allegiance

    4-H Pledge

10 minutes Mixer or Get Acquainted Activity

5 minutes Roll Call

5 minutes Song

10 minutes Announcements by Adult volunteer leaders

10 minutes Reports & Discussion from


15 minutes Recreation



    You may want to write out both the Pledge of Allegiance and 4-H Pledge. Use hand motions to teach the 4-H Pledge. Repeat the pledges asking the members to repeat after you. After the second or third meeting, you may have members who can say the pledges. If so, invite them to help you lead the group.

    At the first several meetings, adult volunteer leaders or teen leaders should welcome everyone and introduce the mixer activity. After the second or third meeting, this responsibility can be assigned to primary members or be done as a “parent and child” responsibility.

Songs and Recreation

    Make these activities short and fun. Try to avoid activities that require instruction. Emphasize activities that use movement and foster group work. Also encourage parent involvement in the singing and recreation.


    Use this time to discuss upcoming events and dates. Try to have a summary of this in written form for children to take home. (Remember, most children this age are unable to take notes of the meeting.) Solicit members ideas; however, do not expect them to organize their thoughts or participate in business meetings like older 4-H‟ers.


    H E A D, H E A R T, H A N D S, H E A L T H

     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide



Reports and Discussion

    Prior to the meeting, ask members to report briefly on a prior project meeting or activity. Several members can report on the same item. If you have a large club, ask project groups to make group reports.


    The 4-H primary member project meeting is one of the major tools leaders can use to help young children develop and learn. It provides children with the opportunity to build friends, exchange ideas, enhance life skills, and explore new concepts and areas of interest. A 4-H project meeting is a time when children can learn and have fun. No 4-H primary member project meeting should be so concentrated with education that it lacks the sounds of laughter and friendly conversation.

    Remember that this project experience may be the first contact that these children will have with the 4-H program.

    The experiences they have, while participating in a primary member project, may determine their future involvement in 4-H.

    ; One hour is a good time span for project meetings.

    ; Allow time at the beginning to greet all members and allow them to actively


    ; Keep in mind that members do not always have to have a finished project. Some

    activities simply allow the members to gain an understanding and awareness of

    the subject being taught.

    ; Remember, the members have short attention spans; be sure to keep the activity

    simple and have plenty of “adult hands” to help.

    ; Refreshments, games, and a short time for free play should be part of the


    ; Before going home, the members should help clean up and put away any clutter

    they have made.

A Suggested Time Frame for Project Meetings

5 minutes Opening and Overview

30 minutes Learning Activity

5 minutes Clean-Up Period

10 minutes Snack Time


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     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide



10 minutes Recreation Time

    What is the Appropriate Subject Matter Content for 4-H Primary Member Projects?

    There is a wide range of subjects that can be successfully introduced to 4-H primary members. The 4-H program encourages subjects that foster exploration and enhance the development of life skills. Life skills can be defined as abilities, knowledge, attitudes, and behavior which must be learned for success and happiness.

    Through the development of these life skills, children learn to live comfortably with others, express their own feelings safely, love life, and welcome new experiences.

    Five life skills have been identified as appropriate for five- to eight-year-old youth. When selecting subjects to present to 4-H primary members, make sure they include at least one of the following life skills.


    ; Understanding-Self Skills - Each child is unique and has different personality

    traits, skills, learning styles, and temperaments. Children should be encouraged

    to learn about themselves and others. Adults working with this age group should

    nurture creativity and curiosity and help children see and appreciate the

    differences and similarities of people.

    ; Social Interaction Skills - Children need the opportunity to identify and explore

    their values, beliefs, and attitudes and understand how these influence their

    relationships with other people. Adults can help young children develop

    appropriate social skills to help them effectively interact with peers and adults.

    ; Decision-Making Skills - Children need to understand how their decisions can

    affect themselves and others and be willing to accept the responsibility for their

    actions. For five- to eight-year-olds, it is also good to focus on decisions which

    provide for their personal safety. They need to have opportunities for practicing

    problem-solving and decision-making with guidance from an adult.

    ; Learning-to-Learn Skills - Five-to eight-year-olds are “concrete” thinkers and

    need real experiences on which to base their learning. Experiential learning

    (hands-on, learn-by-doing) promotes this. Children are curious and eager to learn.

    They have many interests and are enthused about exploring new things. Their

    curiosity and inventiveness create a need to learn how to make order out of what

    they discover.

    ; Mastering Physical Skills - The developmental need for physical activity is

    great for children between five and eight. Physically children between these ages

    are developing their large muscles by learning to skip, climb, wrestle, and hop.


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     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide



    Games and activities involving running, skipping, or hopping will encourage

    muscle development. Children are also refining their small muscle development

    and should practice using pencils and other tools in order to develop and control

    these muscles.

    All 4-H projects should be fun and enjoyable as well as educational. Life skills can best be incorporated into 4-H primary member project meetings through the use of the experiential learning cycle that actively involves the learner in the activity. (1, 2)

    Remember: 4-H primary members may not enroll in large animal projects for safety, liability, and developmental and competitive reasons.

    How Should the Life Skills be Taught in the 4-H Primary Member Program?

    Life skills are best taught in project meetings using the learning cycle process.


1) Experience - Engage the group in some type of activity or experience.

2) Share - As a group share reactions and observations.

3) Process - Discuss questions that are created out of the activity.

    4) Generalize - Explore general trends or common ideas gained from the experience.

    5) Apply - Talk about how the new information can be applied to everyday life or used sometime in the future.

    Conclusion: Experiential learning is more than doing activities. It involves discussing the activity, drawing lessons from the activity, and applying the lessons to the real world. All five steps are critical to effective learning and none should be left out.

How Should the 4-H Projects and Activities Be Presented?

    Activities and curriculum should be presented in small groups where participants depend on each other to accomplish a goal. It has been clearly proven that cooperative learning produces higher achievement, social skills through positive relationships, and healthier psychological adjustment than competitive or individualistic programs (3).




    H E A D, H E A R T, H A N D S, H E A L T H

     Primary 4-H Member Adult Volunteer Guide



    Any type of incentive or recognition should promote healthy growth and development. This means more than intellectual and physical growth. Nurturing personal and social growth is equally important. Proper use of incentives and recognition can help young children clarify their self-concept, improve their self-esteem, and establish self-control.

Self-perceptions are formed partially as a result of a child‟s judgment of how significant

    adults and peers perceive them. This is done through verbal and nonverbal statements about a child‟s competence, acceptance, and overall worth. As children come in contact with other children and adults outside of the home, they too influence the child‟s self-

    perceptions. (4) Any incentive and recognition program should be conducted in an environment of trust, love, belonging, and acceptance that will encourage the development of healthy self-perceptions.

Incentive and recognition for 4-H primary members should:

    ; Incentive and recognition for 4-H primary members should:

    ; Praise competencies and achievements.

    ; Be frequent and concrete.

    ; Provide opportunities to increase awareness of individual competencies and


    ; Teach the importance of self-praise for accomplishments.

    ; Provide feedback on all aspects of a child‟s performance.

    ; Refrain from comparing one child‟s achievement to another‟s.

    What Types of Incentives and Recognition are Used in the 4-H Primary Member Program?

    Adult volunteer leaders can have a profound affect on the development of young people enrolled in their projects.

    Adult volunteers who feel good about themselves and have confidence in their abilities will lead by example and provide a positive learning environment for their members.

    There are many verbal and non-verbal ways to recognize and encourage five- to eight-year-olds.

Some examples of positive reinforcement:

    ; A smile, nodding, a pat on the shoulder.

    ; Specific verbal praise.

    ; Writing a note to a parent, or other significant person, about the child‟s progress

    or accomplishments.

    ; Saying “thank you”.

    ; Providing an opportunity for a member to make a decision.

    ; Providing an opportunity for the child to share a skill or achievement.


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