The Maine Cloverbud policy concerning work with animals is written to balance the national policy which clearly states that 4-H members ages 5 to 8 years old may not have animal projects and the long tradition of animal project work in Maine 4-H. It is also written to insure the safety of all members. We are aware that 4-H is open to all boys and girls ages 5-19 and that many, if not most, of our potential audience do not have a farm background. We cannot assume that young 4-H members and their families come to 4-H with the experience to safely carry out work with animals. Therefore, we must err on the side of caution to insure the safety of all of our members.
As is the case with all policy related to 5 to 8 year olds, we also need to insure that our practices are developmentally appropriate for children of this age group. Because most 5 to 8 year olds do not have the motor skills and/or the judgment to anticipate potentially dangerous situations, they require careful one-on-one supervision in order to participate in activities involving animals of any size. Also, because we want to emphasize cooperation over competition, a wide variety of experiences, and a chance to master skills in a safe and supportive environment, the animal activities carried out by 5 to 8 year old 4-H members and their clubs will have a somewhat different look than they have had in the past. However, members will still be permitted and encouraged to include learning about animals and their care as part of their 4-H activity.
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