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4-H Approach

The 4-H Way: Experiential Education & Learning Partnerships

Even though there are 125 4-H projects in eight different subject areas, all 4-H projects have five things in common.

First, since 4-H is a non-formal educational program that seeks to empower youth, 4-H projects are chosen by the young people who participate in them.

Second, whatever the particular project, all 4-H activities are designed to teach life skills that can be used long after the project is finished.

Third, the 4 “H”s stand for head, heart, hands, and health, emphasizing that the goal of 4-H is to educate the whole person.

Fourth, 4-H projects use a “learn-by-doing” approach, based in the assumption that strong and lasting learning happens when you do something, reflect upon what you do, and then apply what you’ve learned to your next effort.

Fifth, 4-H activities are led by 4-H leaders who create learning partnerships with youth, guided by basic principles of youth development.

In a nutshell, 4-H projects are based on the general idea that young people learn best when they choose hands-on learning experiences that are guided by adults who understand and care about them.


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