Press release by Cheshire Scouts
Scouts in Cheshire are launching a new programme, tailor-made for four and five-year-olds – Squirrels.
Squirrels get to be active, explore nature and have fun learning outdoors with friends, like all other Scouts. To roll-out the programme UK-wide, grown-ups are being called on to volunteer to give young children a chance to thrive after the pandemic.
Squirrel dreys are set to open in north Warrington this month, with other dreys to follow in Helsby, Knutsford and Birchwood in November.
The Royal Foundation’s research on early years recently recognised the lifelong benefits of good quality early education. Ofsted research has also shown that in communities hardest hit by the pandemic, early years children have returned less confident and more anxious after lockdowns.
The emphasis for Squirrels will be on having outdoor adventures, making new friends and learning new things, recognised by a new set of badges. Squirrels creates a positive, safe environment for young children to develop, as they learn essential skills for life.
New Squirrels will get to learn new skills and meet new friends while pitching a blanket tent, planting seeds or learning how to spending 50p in a local shop. The programme is crafted to help them develop teamwork, communication, creativity, community awareness and other core skills.
New badges that Squirrels can earn will include Feel Good, Be Active, Explore Outdoors, Brilliant Builder and Exciting Experiments.
To support the expanded programme, Scouts are calling for grown-up helpers to step forward as part of its #GoodForYou campaign. Scouts want to recruit over 5,000 new volunteers. Volunteering for Scouts not only helps young people, but is good for adults too, supporting wellbeing and building skills for employment.
Dave Hopley, county commissioner for Cheshire Scouts, said: “It’s an exciting new chapter as our early years section, the Squirrels, launches with a programme for four and five-year-olds. Squirrels will help children learn skills at a time when it’s needed most.”
Chief scout Bear Grylls said: “I’m so glad that younger children from Cheshire 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.”