The 4-H Approach
The 4-H Way: Experiential Education & Learning Partnerships
Even though there are 125 4-H projects in 8 different subject areas, all 4-H projects have 5 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, health, 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.