Cloverbuds, the youngest participants in the 4-H Club Program, are enthusiastic, curious, creative, robust and resilient young people who are growing physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally through a period of rapid and often uneven development. The 4-H Cloverbud Program has been designed to meet the very special needs of these five to seven year olds.
Each child develops on his or her own timetable and may outpace age-mates in one aspect of development while lagging in others. Therefore, organized activities should promote success – the magic ingredient that allows them to blossom.
4-H leaders should create positive learning environments that focus on the strengths of their members and help them to meet their four basic needs: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.
The 4-H leader helps cloverbuds to experience a sense of belonging by showing interest in them and what they do, actively listening to them and encouraging them to build on their innate abilities.
The 4-H leader helps cloverbuds to experience of sense of mastery by offering opportunities to take on new challenges, learn new skills and recognize ways these newly acquired abilities can be applied across various situations. Leaders also enable mastery by modeling and explaining that failure and frustration is not a disgrace but a natural part of the learning process –“If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.”
The 4-H leader helps cloverbuds move toward independence by creating opportunities for leadership and self-discipline, and by helping them to recognize the connection between independence and responsibility.
The 4-H leader helps cloverbuds to extend their generosity through service to others and by helping them recognize that it is “through giving that we receive.”
Information adapted from the NYS 4-H Cloverbud Leader Handbook,
Cornell Cooperative Extension, 6/2003
Last updated May 10, 2016