By 2023: 

  • we will research, pilot, and evaluate different models of reaching young people under 6. 


Independent research suggests that the earlier a young person accesses non-formal education, the more positive the impact on their prospects. 

With a proactive focus on reaching young people who could benefit most from Scouting, exploring early years will introduce us to new young people and new adult volunteers who we currently don't engage with. 


Around the world there are various models of Scouting for under 6 year olds and we have had positive anecdotal feedback about the introduction of Squirrels (for 4-5 year olds) in Northern Ireland. 

We understand that we will need more leaders to provide Scouting to under 6 year olds rather than drawing from current volunteers. We need to recruit more volunteers from a wider range of backgrounds to ensure that early years provision has a positive impact on the movement. 


This initiative is dependent on securing external funding. 

Our initial focus will be on: 

  • securing external funding for research 
  • proposing multiple models based on research and learning from other organisations 
  • launching pilot projects to explore and evaluate these different models 
  • evaluating pilot projects and making recommendations for implementing the under 6 provision. 

Next steps for volunteers 

  • There are currently no actions for volunteers 
  • The Scout Association is not insured to provide Scouting to under 5¾. Please don't start early years provision