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NH fifth graders to participate in 'Kid Governor' program

September 16. 2018 7:42PM

Candidates for governor of New Hampshire will have some competition this November. For the first time, fifth graders throughout the state will learn about state voting and elections through the nationally-acclaimed “Kid Governor’’ program.

The program was begun four years ago by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network. This year, the N.H. Institute for Civics Education and the Institute for Politics at St. Anslem College will lead the New Hampshire version of the program, just the third in the country.

Martha Madsen, president of the New Hampshire Institute, said the hope is that “Kid Governor’’ will provide fifth graders “with knowledge of current issues and the NH Constitution, and teach skills around voting, elections, campaigns and communication.’’

“It is an honor to work with the national Kid Governor team, the NH Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, and NH Kid Governor State Coordinator Luane Genest... as we bring this initiative to NH. It will enrich civics education in our state,’’ Madsen said.

The Connecticut program was created in 2015 as a free, in-class civics program. Specially-designed materials teach students about state government and how it works, civic participation, and how to take action on important community issues. Students then select an issue they want to see changed and research ways they can make a difference on that issue.

Three-point plans of action are created and one student from their school is elected as their nominee for the Kid Governor statewide election. Classes work together to record a campaign video for their nominee and the final seven statewide candidates move to a week-long election in which their peers watch the videos and vote for the student whose campaign they want to support.

The winner will serve a one-year term of leadership and advocacy as “Kid Governor’’ during which they promote their platform through the program’s website, an online blog, social media, and speaking engagements.

In a matter of just three years, the program has attracted strong support, its founders say. It includes an adaptable and easy-to-use program that enables educators to teach the often-challenging subjects of civics and civic engagement.

The program has been recognized nationally with a 2017 Medallion Award from the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), a 2017 Service to the Social Studies Award from the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies, and a 2016 Leadership in History Award from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).

In 2017, Oregon’s Kid Governor was launched as the first state affiliate program. Between Connecticut and Oregon, more than 13,900 fifth graders have participated in Kid Governor

Registration for Kid Governor is now open to all fifth grade classrooms in New Hampshire.

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