The Five Essentials

The programme is structured around five key elements - known as the Five Essentials - which support the development of our members

We believe in the value of learning by doing and the Five Essentials put this into practice.

There are five interlinking principles that run throughout our programme. These are known as the Five 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 six development areas in the Educational Framework. They apply to all young members - Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers - as well as adult volunteers.

You should always consider the Five Essentials when planning and running activities you plan - and in your relationships with girls and adults in Girlguiding. 

Watch our video to see how you can use the Five Essentials in your unit.

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 are working with and to society as a whole.
  • We challenge girls by asking them to carry out activities together. This provides challenges which girls can meet as a group, and requires them to make decisions, build confidence and be creative.

Encouraging self-government and decision making

  • Making decisions as an individual allows girls to ‘learn by doing’. Girlguiding aims 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 the management of the unit in age-appropriate ways. Group decision making uses a range of interpersonal skills such as negotiation, influencing and listening.

A balanced and varied programme

  • Adult Leaders are trained to ensure that every unit’s activities are based around the needs and wants of that particular set 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.

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.

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 Five Essentials checklists

These handy checklists make it easy to bring the Five Essentials to life in your unit.

The Five Essentials checklists