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Thread: Reducing Beaver Starting Age

  1. #16
    Member 1stmacscouter's Avatar
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    As someone who has been a Beaver Leader for many years please don’t reduce the start age. It’s hard enough dealing with 6 year olds who struggle to read or write, with the attention span of a ‘gnat’ and who’s shoes constantly need tying.

    Way back Beavers had few badges and was about fun, games and friendship. Our latest Beaver Programme would be way above most 5 year olds.

    We are very reluctant to entertain Beavers until they are fully 6. Let schools pre-or otherwise sort out their potty training!

    p.s. John Anderson if you need some Beavers our waiting (oops 'joining list') has lots on it (all male)!!!
    Last edited by 1stmacscouter; 18-01-2016 at 08:35 PM.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member lakes_stu's Avatar
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    So, I think we can generally agree that reducing the start age for Beavers would create considerably more problems than it would solve. A no-no in general, and I am guessing that the research that was carried out a few years ago bore this out.

    It may be interesting to find out a bit more about how Squirrels works though, and if it would work in the rest of the UK. As that is provision for 4 and 5 year old, it may provide reason to raise Beaver starting age from 5y9m to 6.

    Of course it is not part of TSA, rather seems to be some kind of partner. Plus you would need to find the Leaders, and I suspect volunteers would be even harder to find than they are for Beavers.

    Again I don't have an opinion either way as such, just enjoying the debate, but would welcome others opinions.

    I wonder if we actually have any Squirrel Drey Leaders in our midst.
    Last edited by lakes_stu; 18-01-2016 at 08:53 PM.
    All posts represent my own opinions only. In no way do they speak for anyone else, including (but not limited to) my group, district, county or HQ.

  4. #18
    Senior Member lakes_stu's Avatar
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    Sorry folks, just found the following. Mostly answers my questions...

    https://www.escouts.org.uk/forum/thr...ight=Squirrels
    All posts represent my own opinions only. In no way do they speak for anyone else, including (but not limited to) my group, district, county or HQ.

  5. #19
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    Locally girls go to Rainbows because they can start at 5. They then usually give up at brownie age -if they go at all. Both Scouts & GG is difficult to get into, so neither are short of numbers. We've had a few girls who have seen what their bothers are doing at Cubs & want to join & the only way for them to access Scouting is for a parent to become a leader - we have found 4 new leaders like this recently

    We are a large group with a larger waiting list. We have no way of expanding as we have no local buildings available. 7 sections with 3 bases. Explorers are at a 4th site. We could not cope with the extra numbers at the moment.

    On a personal note, 6 is young enough for me. I'd be off to Cubs if the age range changed!

  6. #20
    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    I have been reading this thread with interest. Why would we want to make Beavers even more challenging to run, make Nights Away a complete nightmare, etc in order to try to attract more kids, when nationally we have tens of thousand of kids already on waiting lists??

    What is there to be gained by trying to persuade girls to join Beavers rather than Rainbows - surely the key is that they are at least attending one or the other

    We are not short of young people so why would we go out of our way to add to our waiting lists?

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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  8. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    We are not short of young people so why would we go out of our way to add to our waiting lists?
    On a personal level, what Guiding locally gives is much different to what I'd like my daughter to be doing. Being good friends with our local brownie leader, she agrees, our daughter is a better fit for scouts. At this point, she's going to be the only girl in beavers (probably the only one in the group...). Which doesn't seem like it will work well.

  9. #22
    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    Any review of the Beaver age range would have to include a review of the Cub age range too, and would impact on the Scout section.

    If for example the Beaver starting age was lowered by a year to age five we would have to look at reducing the Cub age range by lets say six months to seven and a half and potentially they would move up to Scouts six months earlier.

    If we did go for a Squirrels section for age five (or the date they start reception) to six I think it would have to be more like an extra curricular club offered by schools of after school clubs acting as an introduction to Scouting.

    There is of course the issue of lack of adult volunteers, and their not being enough spaces for Beaver aged children wanting to join.

    Over the years we have generally had between 4% and 20% Girls. We have had a few that have joined Beavers and stayed with us until they are old enough to join Brownies at age seven.
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  10. #23
    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1stmacscouter View Post
    As someone who has been a Beaver Leader for many years please don’t reduce the start age. It’s hard enough dealing with 6 year olds who struggle to read or write, with the attention span of a ‘gnat’ and who’s shoes constantly need tying.
    I've dealt with alot less shoe laces recently since we had an evening teaching them knots - one was to tie their shoe laces. Usually if they can't one of the older Beavers will have a go. The last one I did involved undoing a tight and complex knot (or whatever it was) where a Beaver had tried to help another.

    Most kids will be toilet trained by the time they start school and I have only ever had to deal with one toilet accident - just didn't get there quick enough.
    Keith "Hawkeye"
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  11. #24
    Senior Member oneiros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    Any review of the Beaver age range would have to include a review of the Cub age range too, and would impact on the Scout section.

    If for example the Beaver starting age was lowered by a year to age five we would have to look at reducing the Cub age range by lets say six months to seven and a half and potentially they would move up to Scouts six months earlier.
    And it's my opinion that they already come up to Scouts too early...

  12. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    walk down a toy aisle in even the most politically correct of stores and there is still a pink section with glitter and puffy fairy dresses and girls seem to be expected to get their toys from that section.

    society still has expectations of girls and expectations of boys... it is bizarrely OK to say that a girl who likes traditional scouting activities is a tomboy... i hate that.

    There is still an expectation that girls go to rainbows and play with glitter while boys go to beavers and cook s'mores on fires... unless the girl is a tomboy, a freak, not a proper girl.

    It's appalling and it carries on all the way through their lives.
    For society read many parents
    Quote Originally Posted by mang21 View Post
    I think our Beaver leader would quit on the spot!

    Don't forget the two aren't comparable. Rainbows doesn't have a structured badge programme nor undertaken nights away - which suits the younger age range they work with. Throw a load of 5 year olds into Beavers and we'd probably have difficulty making nights away a viable part of the programme (given parents concerns about it being too young - plus the greater incidence of difficulties like bed wetting) along with having to restructure the badge programme.

    I'm also not sure that switching our ages to enable us to capture more girls before they get into Rainbows serves the overall youth well. At present between the two movements there is a certain number of spaces for kids who want to do those sorts of activities -drawing more away from Rainbows who'd be happy to move through Guiding, just blocks spaces for those that would be happy in Scouting but not in Guiding (or can't go that way because they are boys). Its not as if most Beaver colonies have space for 5 year olds even without diverting from Rainbows!
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomsmum View Post
    We have about 1/3 girls, all except my DD are also Rainbows.

    and no thanks to reducing the starting age, 2 years is enough, we would be challenged to make the programme different enough over 3 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lakes_stu View Post
    I have not yet formed an opinion about this, but I thought I would point out that the age for starting the Northern Ireland Squirrel Association is 4. This is a standalone organisation, but one which feeds directly into Beavers.

    I cant help wondering if this is why the starting age for Rainbows in Northern Ireland has been reduced to 4?
    Starting age for Rainbows in Northern Ireland has always been 4. Before Rainbows existed there was a Guiding age group in Northern Ireland called Bunnies, and they took members from age 4, because of this Guiding allowed Northern Ireland to continue accepting 4-year olds. In the rest of the UK the minimum age is 5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fenris View Post
    Starting age for Rainbows in Northern Ireland has always been 4. Before Rainbows existed there was a Guiding age group in Northern Ireland called Bunnies, and they took members from age 4, because of this Guiding allowed Northern Ireland to continue accepting 4-year olds. In the rest of the UK the minimum age is 5.
    So, I wonder why both Guiding and Scouting (if you consider The Northern Ireland Squirrel Association to be part of Scouting, even if not part of TSA) consider it necessary to have younger provision in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the country.


    Paul

  15. #28
    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Is this something to do with the compulsary school age in NI being 4, whereas in the UK it is 5 (although most now start in Reception at 4 it is not, iirc, a legal requirement)

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    Is this something to do with the compulsary school age in NI being 4, whereas in the UK it is 5 (although most now start in Reception at 4 it is not, iirc, a legal requirement)
    Though in Scotland there is still the option that many take for NOV-FEB birthdays to start in the following year so they will start 5+
    'Simba'

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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    Is this something to do with the compulsary school age in NI being 4, whereas in the UK it is 5 (although most now start in Reception at 4 it is not, iirc, a legal requirement)
    I remember when my son was 4 the low down was that the stuff they covered in reception was only done once and kids who started at 5 would just have to catch up, so in effect there was no choice. My son (birthday in June) really struggled with reading and writing in reception and the teacher just treated him like he was thick. We tried to help him but he just couldn't do it (he had all sorts of other talents, like amazing Lego constructions). It was only because a couple of teachers (both of whom have now left teaching) put themselves out to help him later in the school that he didn't just get left behind. I really hope things have improved now but I suspect not. It is also worth adding that the school is oversubscribed (but it is the only one where we live) and the chances of getting a place if you leave it until age 5 are zero.
    Last edited by Kev; 22-01-2016 at 06:20 PM.

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