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4-H Program Reaches Over 84,000 Students Since 1992

The Issue

Enhancing the elementary school classroom by bringing in outside resources helps children learn. Children's natural curiosity and interest in animals and plants creates learning moments, encourages agricultural literacy and provides opportunities for students to discuss and learn about life experiences. To affect the classroom, however, the program must be longer than a one-day exposure.

What Has ANR Done?

The Fresno County 4-H School Enrichment Program provides a three to six week classroom presence, enhancing the atmosphere of elementary classrooms with a 4-H curriculum in avian embryology, plant science, nutrition and water rockets. Bringing animals, plants, rockets and nutrition information to the classroom provides a basis for students to learn about basic biology, health, agricultural literacy, basic physics and life skills. Dave Snell, 4-H youth development advisor in Fresno County, has developed the curriculum and 4-H staff train teachers and provide the necessary resources for classrooms presentation. The programs are self-contained to reduce effort on the part of the teachers. College interns deliver eggs and pick up incubators for the avian embryology program. Contact teachers in each school act as organizers of the program.

The Payoff

Kids are excited about school because of 4-H program

Interviews with many teachers have indicated that the 4-H School Enrichment Programs is an integral part of their overall strategy to keep their students in class and excited about learning. Having that egg or chick or plant in the classroom allows them to relate their other studies such as writing, math or biology to a real living object in their classroom. When something happens to the chick, such as dying or hatching handicapped, students have a chance to discuss life skills without the risk of talking about a real person. The Fresno County 4-H School Enrichment Program reaches over 7,000 students each year. About 350 elementary school teachers in over 40 elementary schools are inserviced and provided curriculum and supplies. The program has also expanded to Tulare, Kings and Kern counties, with their county 4-H staffs presenting it.

Clientele Testimonial

Parvin Malek, teacher at Martin Luther King Elementary in Fresno, who has used the program for 12 years: "Having the eggs and chicks in my classroom allows my students to relate their schoolwork to the real world. It also teaches them to value life in a community where there is high crime and low income."

Karen Konda, teacher at Sierra Vista Elementary in Clovis: "The 4-H Program helps me get the children to school and keep them excited about learning. It has a long-lasting effect on the kids because they come back to me and talk about it even as sixth graders."


Supporting Unit: Fresno County

Dave Snell, 4-H Youth Development Advisor, UCCE Fresno County, 1720 Maple Ave., Fresno, CA 03702
(559)456-7221 desnell@ucdavis.edu