Local McDonald Co. school had successful first year of 4-H Club

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Youth program associate Dana Vangunda shows second graders an orphaned raccoon as part of in-class 4-H programming at Noel Primary School in McDonald County.

NOEL, Mo. – Noel Primary School’s Tiger Paws in-school 4-H Club had a very successful first year with teacher Dene’e Jones as club leader.

Jones incorporated 4-H into the school week with second graders schoolwide, about 70 students.

[Jones] developed a curriculum that incorporated community needs with learning standards to create comprehensive, hands-on learning opportunities for her students.

Jennifer Lutes, County Engagement Specialist for University of Missouri Extension

Noel Primary is the second school in the McDonald County R-1 School District to start a 4-H club in which students attend club meetings during school hours.

Lutes and MU Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist Mike Coffey first met with the school district two years ago to present the idea of each elementary school becoming a 4-H club. The county’s first in-school 4-H program launched in 2018 at Anderson Elementary. Noel Primary School joined for the 2019-20 school year.

At Noel Primary 4-H, some of the topics taught to the students included:

  • Parliamentary Procedure and how to make group decisions
  • Responsibilities of taking care of pets
  • Conservation of wild animals
  • Program and coding robotics
  • Sewing
  • Gardening

Jones will share her program’s success with the other principals in the district. Extension specialists and district administrators will also be on hand to discuss how other schools can bring 4-H into the school day.

Jones said she is looking forward to next year. She is excited about plans to finish their gardens and a new pottery project. “Of course, we still have our mom and dad guinea pigs, Alvin and Maxine, with plans for more baby piggies to come,” Jones said.

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