The 5 essentials and our educational framework

The programme is structured around 5 key elements - known as the 5 essentials - which support our educational framework

We believe in the value of learning by doing.

There are 5 principles that run throughout our programme. These are known as the 5 essentials.

The 5 essentials 

  1. Working together in small groups. 
  2. Encouraging self-government and decision-making. 
  3. A balanced and varied programme which is girl-led. 
  4. Caring for the individual. 
  5. Sharing a commitment to a common standard. 

These principles help us to deliver the objectives for the 6 development areas in the educational framework. They apply to all young members and volunteers. 

As volunteers, you should always consider the 5 essentials when planning and running activities - and in your relationships with others in guiding.  

1. Working together in small groups 

Girls learn about teamwork, sharing experiences, taking responsibility, personal relationships and leadership. This equips them with the skills to make a positive contribution to the group they’re working with and to society as a whole. 

We ask girls to take on activities together. This provides challenges which girls can meet as a group, and requires them to make decisions, build confidence and be creative. 

2. Encouraging self-government and decision making 

Making decisions as an individual allows girls to ‘learn by doing’. We aim to provide a safe environment for them to make mistakes and learn from them without the pressure of meeting a pre-defined academic standard. Instead, our girls are encouraged to ‘do their best'. 

At a group level girls can plan activities from the broad range available within the programme, and share in running the unit in age-appropriate ways. Group decision making uses a range of interpersonal skills such as negotiation, influencing and listening. 

3. A balanced and varied programme 

Adult leaders are trained to make sure  activities are based around the needs and wants of that particular group of girls. We work to involve girls in our decision-making processes at every level.      

Balance and variety in the programme are achieved through a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, residential experiences, community action projects and more. 

Girls can also achieve badges which recognise their efforts when they undertake different tasks and learn new things. 

4. Caring for the individual 

All girls within guiding are expected to be sensitive to the needs and wants of others. Caring for individuals includes learning about relationships and learning how to listen. 

Learning how to listen is part of working and making decisions together. This key life skill will enable a girl to care for individuals in later life and have respect for others’ opinions and points of view. 

5. Sharing a commitment to a common standard 

Girlguiding welcomes girls and women from all faiths, cultures and races. A shared commitment to a common standard is expressed in the promise, which underpins every element of the programme. 

By making the promise, girls and leaders express their commitment to the values of guiding, which encompass active citizenship and spiritual development. 

The 5 essentials checklists make it easy to bring the 5 essentials to life in your unit.

Our educational framework 

We help girls to reach their full potential by promoting 6 areas of their development.  

We believe learning is a lifelong process and that the Girlguiding programme can be an important, non-formal part of girls' development. 

As you plan and run activities covering different areas of the framework, you should also use the 5 essentials which will help you fulfill these objectives. 

  1. Spiritual development - girls develop their spiritual identity while understanding and respecting the spiritual choices of others. 
  2. Social development - girls learn to take responsibility for themselves and others, become reliable team members and confident leaders. 
  3. Emotional development - through fun and friendship, girls develop their self-esteem and gain self-confidence, building respect for themselves and each other. 
  4. Physical development - girls develop their mental, physical and emotional well-being through a range of active experiences. 
  5. Moral development - girls develop their understanding of what is right and wrong, and develop their sense of conduct. 
  6. Intellectual development - through the activities and challenges they experience, girls become adept at processing information, making decisions and self-reflection. 

This guidance on our educational framework explains how we aim to promote girls' learning and development.