OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A national program that aims to teach children about the government is coming to Oklahoma.

The national Kid Governor program originated in Connecticut and has since expanded to other states. The program aims to teach fifth-graders about state government, elections, and the importance of civic engagement.

Now, the program is expanding to Oklahoma.

“Beginning with the next Oklahoma Kid Governor®, instead of only a few kids entering a competition, every Oklahoma fifth grader will have the opportunity to participate in a statewide election,” said Joe Dorman, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO. “Even better, Oklahoma’s teachers will have access to an array of materials to help students learn the importance of democracy and the role they can play in it.”

The Oklahoma program will kick off in August with the beginning of the new school year, and the election will be timed to coincide with Oklahoma’s gubernatorial election this November.

“It is critically important for our young people to be engaged in the civic process and learn about how our government works from an early age,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “I remember meeting Gov. Henry Bellmon on a field trip to the Capitol when I was in middle school, and I look forward to Oklahoma students having similar opportunities all across our state.”

Schools will each have the opportunity to enter one student candidate into a statewide election.

Candidates will create platforms to address issues they feel are important for children and make campaign videos.

Schools will run Primary Elections to select nominees. Each school’s winner will advance a panel, who will then choose seven finalists for a statewide election.

Teachers will receive kits of free, custom-designed lesson plans to guide them through the program and teach students about state government, the history, and process of voting.

“Students learn better when they are actively engaged in their learning journey. The Kid Governor® program involves Oklahoma students in all stages of the democratic process, giving them a unique and fun learning experience,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “It’s a great way to instill a sense of citizenship and public service in young people today.”

For more information about how you can help the Kid Governor® program, contact OICA at info@oica.org or call (405) 236-KIDS (5437).