Welcome Squirrels – a brand new programme for 4-5 year olds

Scouts are today (September 9th) announcing our new programme tailor-made for 4 and 5 year olds – Squirrels. Squirrels will get to be active, explore nature and have fun learning with friends, earning badges like all other Scouts. The programme starts rolling out this month and grown-ups are being called on to volunteer to give young children a chance to learn vital skills for life after the challenges of lockdowns.

Building on a successful pilot programme, Squirrel dreys will open initially in 9 locations across Scotland including the 21st Craigalmond Group in South Queensferry in our Craigalmond District, but with more to follow. Priority given to communities most affected by the pandemic. Research from Ofsted has demonstrated that children hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic have regressed in basic skills and learning.

The emphasis will be on outdoor adventures, making new friends and learning new skills, recognised by a new set of badges. Squirrels will create a positive, safe environment for young children to develop, as they learn essential skills for life.

New Squirrels will get to try new activities and make new friends. The programme is crafted to help them develop teamwork, communication, creativity, community awareness and other key skills. New badges will include Feel Good, Be Active, Explore Outdoors, Brilliant Builder and Exciting Experiments.

To support the new section, Scouts are calling for grown-up helpers to step forward as part of its #GoodForYou, campaign, designed to recruit new volunteers. Scouts are showing adults how volunteering for Scouts not only helps young people, but is good for them too, supporting wellbeing and building their skills for employment and education

Katie Docherty, Chief Executive, Scouts Scotland said: “Squirrels is part of our commitment to help young people, families and communities come back stronger from the pandemic. If you’re four, you’ve spent a third of your life in lockdowns. Our mission at Scouts is to equip young people with skills for life, and we know how important early years is in terms of developing these skills. We know this has especially impacted children in communities hardest hit by the pandemic. That’s why we are opening the first Squirrel dreys in those communities that need it most.”

She added: “To scale up this new programme we need support from volunteers, partners and donors to help us reach even more young people.”

Bear Grylls, Chief Scout said: “I’m so glad that younger children will now have the chance to join our family of Scouts and develop skills for life. We know from our pilot programme that 4-5-year-olds can really benefit from the activities that Squirrels offers. All of us at the Scouts believe that by offering opportunities at this early age, inspiring a sense of wonder, fun and curiosity, we can have a long-lasting, positive impact on young people’s lives. To make this work we need more volunteers to join the team and donors to get behind us”

Morag Machlachlan, Squirrels Group Leader from 21st South Queensferry in Craigalmond said: “I’m really excited to start our Squirrels drey in South Queensferry. The programme is built to help 4 and 5 year olds develop teamwork, communication and creativity. It will be great to get these young people together to have fun, make new friends and earn badges!”

For more information about Squirrels please contact our Squirrel Advisor, Neil Hogg.

How can you volunteer?

We encourage all parents and carers to take an active interest in what is going on with all sections, including Squirrels. If you would like to help see our information for adult volunteers.