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Weekly Discussion: Should we standardise the Rainbow starting age?

Discussion in 'General Guiding' started by badgemad4, Jan 14, 2018.

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Should the Rainbow starting age be standardised?

  1. Yes- to age 4

  2. Yes-to age 5

  3. No- it works fine

  4. No- 4 is too young

  5. No- starting the discussion is too political

  6. Other that I'll explain as a comment

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. badgemad4

    badgemad4 Veteran (100+ posts)

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    Starting ages are always a controversial subject, but today is not for any section but Rainbows.

    The starting age for Rainbows is 5, unless in NI where it is 4. The reason for the difference is that NI previously had a section that did not exist in the rest of the UK that had a starting age of 4 and end age of 7. It was known as Bunnies and in some areas predates Rainbows by nearly twenty years. Therefore NI has a "grandfathered" in exemption.

    But should there be a standardised joining age? Should we be able to admit 4 year olds in the rest of the UK-or would that be adding extra pressure on Rainbow leaders? In these parts Rainbow units are often in the highest demand for both a place and for new leaders. Many leaders also note the difference in ability between their 5 and 7 year olds- with high dependancy from the very youngest. Would it help us gain the edge in recruitment, as many other activities have a minimum 5-7 age start?

    What do you all think?
     
  2. badgemad4

    badgemad4 Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I am not a Rainbow leader so I don't really feel too qualified to comment. In some ways I can see how it would be useful to have a standard age but I can imagine the changes would be disruptive for some units. I think if it were to ever happen there should be a consultation for Rainbow leaders before a final decision, and if there was to be such a discussion it shouldn't be for a few years because of both the new programme coming in and because of political sensitivity (not intended to be inflammatory).
     
  3. browniebeth

    browniebeth Brownie Leader Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    I think possibly yes to making it a three year section. I've run Brownie units in the past with large rainbow feeder wanting to chuck them out quicker than I can make room. I don't think this is as much of a problem at the other end (never had an issue getting brownies into guides, as the unit can go much larger, more drop out as they get older), but that rainbows to brownies bottleneck, because they're at an age where they go where mummy takes them etc, is a real problem, and I do wonder whether it has to be.

    However, I can appreciate that between 4 and 7 you do a lot of learning, and there may be plenty that it would be expected that a 5 year old could manage but a 4 year old could not, causing there to be a huge crisis of not enough help to deal with that. But i suppose whenever you set the minimum you'll get some who are nearly in Y1 before they start and others who from day 1 in reception, that continues throughout.

    I'm just pondering now!
     
  4. kingfisherblue

    kingfisherblue Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I wouldn't want four year old Rainbows. At least by the time they reach five years old, they have started school, and have some understanding of routine and respect (although increasingly we have new starters who definitely think that they are in charge!). A number of four year olds haven't started school yet, and apart from clinging to their parents in some cases (as my daughter did to me), others will have rarely, if ever, heard the word 'No'.

    The extra year allows for a little more maturity, and most rainbows have already started school, so have started to learn a little about sitting down when asked, listening, sharing, and turn taking. We even have a few who can write their names.
     
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  5. Trinny

    Trinny Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I don't do Rainbows so I have no idea to be honest. But here are a few thoughts:
    -I know the Rainbow units nearby are all totally full and have huge waiting lists, so reducing the age to 4-7 round here would cause issues with volunteer recruitment and lack of spaces. This in turn might lead to unhappy parents and as this might be their first experience of GG, it would be a shame if they were offput.
    -However, it must currently work in NI. I don't know if the majority of units are oversubscribed but it would be a shame to limit it to 5-7 if it's working well there.
    -But consistency is key, and particularly as GG bring out more centralised resources it might help to reduce the "5 (4 in NI)" thing, because parents and most volunteers won't be aware of the historical issues.

    On balance I would be in favour of moving the age to 5, but with a bit of lead time. Perhaps in 2023 (i.e. so a baby born today would only be able to join as a 5 year old), so we're not changing the criteria for any children already on the list or even born!
     
  6. mhairilowl

    mhairilowl Beginner (10+ posts)

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    no it should stay at 5. i was a rainbow leader and a nursery worker at the same time and a 4 year old is totally different from a 5 year.

    totally agree. with you kingfisher
     
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  7. Ech18

    Ech18 Veteran (100+ posts)

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    The mandatory school starting age is 4 in NI I think so It makes a bit more sense when you look at it like this and may overcome some of the issues of understanding structure etc.

    I think if anything changes you would have to say 4 and at full time school in a certain class or something similar. I would be happy with that arrangement through all the sections to be honest.
     
  8. kingfisherblue

    kingfisherblue Veteran (100+ posts)

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    Thanks mhairiowl. When I was typing it out, I thought how horrible I sounded! It's not that I don't like younger children, but I do find them much harder work. Also, I know that nurseries are getting children who haven't been toilet trained, or taught any manners, and I don't really want to take on the responsibilities of a parent. (no problem with toileting if SEN - my own son was born with a bowel condition and was in nappies until he was sixteen).

    I have Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, and Brownies are my preferred section. Rainbows are fine from age five, but I'd consider resigning from the section if they started at four years old. Also, there's a big enough gap between a newly turned five year old and an almost seven year old Rainbow, so that gap would widen if we had younger girls.
     
  9. caroline68

    caroline68 Regular (50+ posts)

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    I agree, 5 is a good age, the oldest have had a least one term in school (In england and wales at least, i've a feeling Scotland is different?) The abilities of a five year old vary considerably, some can read and write and some can't, to have 4 year olds as well would widen that gap even further.
    If taking girls at 4 is working in NI, then I see no need to change that, but if not then standardise it.
    Also rainbow units are smaller than older sections, so taking girls at 4 would put pressure on spaces and more units would need to open in some areas!
     
  10. Snowflake1

    Snowflake1 Beginner (10+ posts)

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    I think it would be ok as long as the Rainbows were statutory school starting age - so in reception class in full time school. I do Rainbows, Brownies & Guides.
     
  11. Burghilly

    Burghilly Veteran (100+ posts)

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    Should Rainbows starting age be increased in the light of a lot of young children seeming very unready for nursery or school?

    Children can't join Beavers till they are 6 and only have 2 years before joining Cubs. I wonder how they decided on age 6 when Beavers was set up and whether this makes life any easier for the leaders ( or not).

    At a county training session last year I was staggered to hear the biggest loss of girls from guiding is not the move from Brownies to Guides as I thought, but actually the transition from Rainbows to Brownies where the biggest number of girls drop out.
     
  12. Quack

    Quack Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    I don't have any real experience of running Rainbows but I would think one big stumbling block would be times. I know many Rainbow units that meet before Brownies so 6 until 7 ...would that be too late for 4 year olds ? Shouldn't they be enjoying bathtime and a story?

    I love Guiding but we need to give girls chance to be children before we try to make them independant...

    Sent from my SGP712 using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Tregi

    Tregi Veteran (100+ posts)

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    The problem with saying 'in full time school' is that you can be exactly 5 on the first day of Reception class, or you can be 4 and 1 day, depending on birthdays. If they wanted to bring it earlier, they should split the difference, and put schooling in to consideration i.e. at least 4 years 6 month and coping with full time school. My niece (March birthday) was shattered every night for the first two terms of school - no way would she have coped with an activity between 5pm and 7pm.
     
  14. fenris

    fenris fenris GuiderPlus

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    Yes, can be different in Scotland. In Scotland, where a child would be able to start school at 4.5, parents have the choice to defer for a year - and many choose to take up that option, so the child gets another year of nursery/playgroup.
     
  15. Kochanski

    Kochanski Veteran (100+ posts)

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    5 year old Rainbows are keen but only just able to cope with, for example, the Ready for Rainbows book, sitting in a circle, listening, following what we're saying, taking turns, etc.
     
  16. scotchmi5t

    scotchmi5t Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I'm a mum to a 4 year old girl and would say she is not ready for something like Rainbows. I would keep it at 5.
     

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