SARATOGA CO., N.Y. — The Saratoga County 4-H School Outreach Program has been a staple in local classrooms for over 30 years. In light of COVID-19, the decision has been made by the majority of local schools to not allow anyone but staff into elementary schools; that includes the 4-H School Outreach Educator. So what now? Mrs. Julie Curren found the physical exclusion an unacceptable option. She has been spearheading this program since 2004 and refused to fail her students. With determination, creativity, and a little ingenuity Mrs. Curren has readapted the program to go full virtual. She will still be IN the classrooms and elementary teachers are rejoicing! They have been contacting the 4-H office and obtaining “kits” for their classrooms through socially distanced drop offs and Mrs. Curren has been supplementing with LIVE lessons through online platforms.
The re-tooling of the 4-H School Outreach program has provided the opportunity to launch the long-awaited 4-H Homeschool Outreach Program. For the first time ever outside the classroom, the Homeschool program is specifically designed for elementary age children with a variety of lessons that support teachings and help satisfy Next Generation Learning Standards. The lessons are just like the “in-school” lessons but without the Live teachings. They are designed for individual families with content rich, hands-on opportunities via kits that can be picked up with no contact at the CCE office. Saratoga County 4-H School Outreach has always worked to meet the needs of the community and with the popularity of Homeschooling on the rise, it was impossible to not make the expansion. This program will be evolving as time goes on, offering new things regularly, but it will be a permanent addition to the Saratoga County 4-H School Outreach program.
At the time of the launch, program subjects offered include Plant and Animal Life Science, Nutrition, and STEAM units (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) with more subjects to be offered as they become available. Average kit cost is $5 per familyzxs.
More information on offerings and costs is available on the website http://ccesaratoga.org/cce-saratoga-and-covid-19/4-h-school-outreach-homeschool-hub or feel free to call the Saratoga County 4-H office to speak with Kim Wilbur, 518-885-8995.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County
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