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Thread: November Newsletter: Exploring early years provision for those aged under 6

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    November Newsletter: Exploring early years provision for those aged under 6

    Taken from the November members newsletter
    Our plan: Exploring early years provision. Work on our new strategy Skills for Life is now well underway. This includes work on digital (such as developing our website), off-the-shelf programmes, programme planning tools and our brand.


    In the Skills for Life plan, we said we would start exploring early years provision only when we'd secured external funding. We are currently seeking this funding. In preparation, we want to hear from Groups interested in trying out different ways of delivering a new programme for young people under the age of 6. We particularly welcome interest from Groups in more deprived parts of the UK. Please use this form to express your interest.


    It's important to note that we are only exploring options at this stage. Groups do not yet have permission to start early years provision outside of these pilots. Unofficial provision is against our rules, could affect the pilots and isn't insured. We'll keep you updated on our progress and whether there will be a wider roll-out in the future.
    Squirrels back from the dead?

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard T View Post
    Taken from the November members newsletter


    Squirrels back from the dead?
    Good grief I hope not. Four years old is a funny old age. I really don't think it's a time to be starting scouting. Leave it at 6.

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    Take a look at the Core Purpose of the new Programme Design Manager role -- see https://scouts.org.uk/about-us/jobs/...esign-manager/ - core purpose is in the Full Job description. The age 4-5 programme is part of the role
    You have until 12 November to apply!
    A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room. Baden-Powell

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    Squirrels have remained active in Northern Ireland for a while now (Though they hold a weird status with the Charity Commission as they are separate from the Scout Association). For myself the thought of looking after children that young and running a program would be a nightmare, but some people must be good at it Ha

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    What cracks me up is that every time Squirrels are brought up its generally viewed as causing problems, too young, won't understand, baby sitting service etc.

    Yet here in Northern Ireland Squirrels has been running very successfully. I doubt very much the Scout Association is going to force you to open Squirrels. If you can't get Leaders don't open the section, some groups will. Let it grow organically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big George View Post
    What cracks me up is that every time Squirrels are brought up its generally viewed as causing problems, too young, won't understand, baby sitting service etc.
    I'm reliably informed that those objections are word-for-word identical to the objections that were voiced around Beavers starting up.

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    I don't have an issue with younger provision if there are leaders that want to run it.

    What I do not understand is where the demand is coming from. I have never had a parent or leader say that they would like a younger section and I have never heard any support for the idea expressed at District meetings. So where is the demand that has led to this being an important issue?

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    Well I don't suppose parents are going to directly ask for a section that they already know doesn't exist. But my Beaver waiting list indicates there are lots of kids who would join a younger section if one was set up. Regardless of the SA's thoughts on the matter I'm pretty sure anyone expecting one to open at my group is going to be disappointed!

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    Senior Member Kastor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippysurfer View Post
    I don't have an issue with younger provision if there are leaders that want to run it.

    What I do not understand is where the demand is coming from. I have never had a parent or leader say that they would like a younger section and I have never heard any support for the idea expressed at District meetings. So where is the demand that has led to this being an important issue?
    The "demand" is HQ wanting to increase the membersip and compete with the Rainbows who take kids from 5 (4 in NI).

    Pure commercial reasons.
    To get more kids we need more adults - are we getting the message yet?

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    I'm sure if you could find the leaders to put it on, people would be happy to send their kids. The issue in a lot of instances is that with kids that young, you're going to need to finish the session before many people get home from work so your pool of potential leaders etc is going to be pretty small - especially if you rule out stay at home parents that can't be involved because they have another even younger child to look after as would often be the case.

    I'm sure there are probably plenty of potential activities - my question would be how much different (and how definitively scouting) these activities would be from a nursery. We have a nursery/pre-school on our site during the day - they do arts and crafts, learning activities etc, but also outdoor stuff like bug hunts, mud kitchen etc. I guess if you're in an inner city setting then the nursery may not be providing much outdoors but then your "Squirrel" group may be restricted as well if they are landlocked in a church hall.

    As an option for those groups that want to do it - no problem to me. If it becomes something we get pressure to put on by TSA then I'd be more concerned. (Pressure from parents is easy - "Here's a spare timeslot - fill yer boots" is the appropriate response to anyone wanting a group set up for their little ragamuffin!)
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Squirrels...

    Mmm... I get the impression, the younger the section the more likely parents are to use it if it's there. It's the difference between enthusiastic volunteers with skills they want to pass on wanting to do something for kids in the community, versus parents wanting another activity to which they can send their kids - because, currently, its very much the Thing To Do if you have kids.

    Personally, I wouldn't be keen on providing it. For me, it just crosses the line (as already mentioned) from providing useful education/fun over into providing childcare.

    It wouldn't matter how TSA dressed it up, that's how parents would regard it.

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    I think a more interesting idea is "Family Scouts" which runs in Denmark (a friend and her husband are leaders). Kids aged 4-6ish attend, and must bring an adult (parent / grandparent / auntie / family friend) and spend a morning a month doing outdoorsy forest school stuff (not glitter and glue!). It gets them involved before football / gym / other groups, and gets the parents/grandparents involved from the start.
    "Rach..... what do I do with the instant whip once it's boiling???"

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    Birmingham Uni Scout and Guide Club (BUSAG) and SSAGO chairman many years ago....

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    Our BSL used to help run a Squirrels section in Northern Ireland. I will have to ask her how it ran in terms of parents and Leaders

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    Quote Originally Posted by rach View Post
    I think a more interesting idea is "Family Scouts" which runs in Denmark (a friend and her husband are leaders). Kids aged 4-6ish attend, and must bring an adult (parent / grandparent / auntie / family friend) and spend a morning a month doing outdoorsy forest school stuff (not glitter and glue!). It gets them involved before football / gym / other groups, and gets the parents/grandparents involved from the start.
    Now that is an interesting idea

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    Quote Originally Posted by rach View Post
    I think a more interesting idea is "Family Scouts" which runs in Denmark (a friend and her husband are leaders). Kids aged 4-6ish attend, and must bring an adult (parent / grandparent / auntie / family friend) and spend a morning a month doing outdoorsy forest school stuff (not glitter and glue!). It gets them involved before football / gym / other groups, and gets the parents/grandparents involved from the start.
    My vague impression is that is how Squirrels works in NI, i.e. at elast one parent/other adult has to stay with a child for the session. As i say though I will check.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Previous Scouting Roles
    2003 - 2013 ABSL
    2017-2018 AGSL

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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