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 

  • We want to hear from Groups via an expression of interest process who are interested in trying out different ways of delivering a new programme for under 6-year-olds, particularly from Groups in more deprived parts of the UK.

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