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Activities at Brownies..How much do you tell the parents?

Hi all,

Some advise would be greatly received....

I have a parent who likes to know or should I say 'wants' to know down to a T exactly what we are doing each term. I have had an email today wanting to know exactly what we have planned for each week going forward. She did approach me a couple of months ago quite rudely at the beginning of a meeting asking for the same and at which point I showed her our planning sheet.

My feeling is that I shouldn't have to 'bow' down to her as she is rather abrupt and does question everything. Prior to Christmas, we decorated some Christmas decorations for the local church. Said mother contacted me to ask why they had done a 'craft' session to which my reply was that it was for the church. Said mother then told me that she felt that the craft session was 'justified' as it was for the community and she would have been unhappy had it just been for what she considered a normal activity. (As you can tell I am not impressed with the mother).

I have sent an email out previously advising parents that we follow a programme, do a mixture of badge/challenge work and that we have been trialling the girls with the new activity packs.

What detail do you go into if any with the parents?


Beginner (10+ posts)
My Brownie unit has a programme plan for the Leaders, but the only time the parents get told anything specific is for trips or residentials. That reads badly, but our week to week activities may change at short notice depending on which Leaders are available (shift work and illness), so while we cover a wide range of activities, we don't tend to tell the parents much except the standard 'follow a programme, these are some of the things we would expect to do in a term'. Obviously if there is a specific reason the parent would like to know (medical, child-care) then we do our best to tell them exactly what will be happening, with the caveat of 'certain things will change depending on Leader numbers'.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Not jealous of you!

Basically the same as Chillax. We don’t routinely give parents a term plan. For the leadership team we have a rough outline for the term with headings and activity ideas, then a fortnight or so before have a definitive plan. If someone asked we’d be able to provide a list of headings and some ideas but that’s all.

At the start of term when we send out overview email we might mention some highlights. We give parents at least a fortnights notice for activities that might need something brought in or be in a different location- but we don’t let them know specifically what we’d be doing each week.


Veteran (100+ posts)
We give out a program for the term but it’s not very specific (eg X challenge badge) and we wouldn’t tell the parents anything more if they ask.

Apart from exceptional circumstances, i don’t think girls (Or their parents) should be able to pick and choose which weeks they attend. Obviously girls will miss some weeks due to illness, holiday or other valid reasons. But it shouldn’t be just because they don’t fancy that weeks activity.

I think part of being in Guiding is doing a variety of activities, some you like more than others and some you’re good at and others you’re not so good at. Very often girls really enjoy an activity that they were initially sceptical of or didn’t want to try.


Veteran (100+ posts)
We plan the whole term during the holiday before it, putting in as much as we can from what the girls suggest. Then we type it up and give each leader a detailed one e.g. Adv book page nos, and print one copy showing the main activity to display on our notice board. It doesn't show a lot of detail, e.g. for a meeting it might just say 'world challenges' or 'first aid'. Parents do look at it and some even take a photo on their mobile phone. Our main reason for displaying it is that we are always saying to parents we would love some of them to help and at least that way they can pick a week when the general theme sounds like something they are interested in.


Veteran (100+ posts)
We give our parents a brief title for each week, so it will be X badge, sports fun, craft, theme evening, outdoor adventure, dark night.
It is as much for the girls to show their input and make them just that little bit curious if it is not so obvious.

I sympathise with you Scarfy, maybe you should ask the mum if she would like to become a leader, since she is obviously so interested in what happens at Brownies (and hope she responds in the way you would like!)


Veteran (100+ posts)
We give the girls a term program- it’s colourful and full of clip art and silly fonts. The weeks have general information, but often quite sketchy eg “outdoor cooking- dress for the weather” - but no info about whether it’s on fires or gas stoves or whatever. Some nights will be even more general “crafty creative!” could be using up the bits in the boxes, or could be really specific craft, “Splash!” could be water games or could be a wide game...
We find having the term broadly planned in advance keeps us from being too repetitive.


We don't give out programmes to the girls/their parents (nor to the Commissioner, because we've never been asked to), so unless we were planning an outing, then parents wouldn't have any information on what we planned to do on a given week. We could, as we tend to plan a term at a time - but it would have to be with caveats as we sometimes switch things round due to weather conditions, staff/equipment availability etc.

But from the comments re craft, it sounds like it isn't just that she wants an idea of what the unit is going to do each week, she appears to be questioning 'why' activities are done. On that basis, I'd suggest handing over some information from the website on balanced programme, 5 essentials etc, so that she can see the unit is conforming to the programme, and that the unit should be doing arts activities as well as challenges, outdoors, etc?


Veteran (100+ posts)
Yeah, I don't tell parents what we're doing (unless I need them to do something, like bring a coat/hair bobble). But then, no-one has ever asked me. I think I'd give a main activity or a theme, for example "We'll be doing a touchy feely activity for our Disability Awareness badge".


Brown Owl (x2)
If our parents put their name down on our parent rota spreadsheet, then they'll know what our term programme is, although there are times when we switch things around because something wasn't ready to go for example.

Towards the end of term I tend to give them reminder emails about things, which tend to let them know what the next few weeks entail, and confirm which date is our last meeting. I almost always get several emails asking when the last day is. I often wonder who DOES read my emails.


Veteran (100+ posts)
I agree that she sounds like she want to know the 'why' of the programme. I might be worth sending her some info on the 5 essentials rather than a more detailed programme.


Brownie-induced madness
We had just started giving a general program (but not specifics like when we'd be doing crafts) when I was leaving my unit (that is not related, just to say I'm not sure what's happening now).
I also agree this parent probably needs to know more about Guiding in general, rather than this specific activity/the programme.
Maybe next time you see her say, I know you're really interested in what we're up to, I've got some information about the Brownie programme to send you if XXX is the right email address?


Brownie-induced madness
(By the way, in some ways it's better this happens than voting with the feet. A Rainbow unit I've been involved with was getting towards basically doing colouring, colouring, and more colouring - I had no real input into their programme so couldn't change it - but they lost a lot of 6 year olds).


Brownie Leader
We put up an outline program on notice board for parents (and give fuller version to DC).

Often the one for parents though is at the point where we've worked out with girls what they'd like to do in terms of badges/themes for all the weeks of the term - but before they've actually fed into the individual activities. For example, this term we have each Six having a night where they choose all the activities for the others to do and do the cooking bit themselves for the others to sample at end (Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England) - and our Senior Six are taking over World Thinking Day night, including some prep outside of Brownies.

We do have parents on a rota each week and a facebook page where we put up info and photos - add to that the adhoc requests to bring in weird and wonderful items from home (lots of tools like hammers, etc were needed for the last 2 weeks) - it all means that they do know pretty much what we are planning to do every week. Our lot are really supportive :)