Being a leader: the Five Essentials

Explaining the Five Essentials - the principles that run throughout the Girlguiding programme

The Five Essentials are the five key elements that run through our programme. You should consider them when planning and running activities.

Here you can find out what they are and how you might see them in action.

The five essentials provide a foundation for good quality guiding. Keep these in mind when deciding how your unit meetings and other activities work.

Leader 1: “I think the Five Essentials are important because they cover every single aspect of what’s expected of you as a leader.”

Leader 2: “They allow us to work out how we can have the most varied programme. One that gives the girls a chance to speak individually, as well as working in small groups. It gives them a way of knowing that they’re part of something much bigger.”

Number one - Working together in small groups:

This gives girls a chance to learn about teamwork, sharing experiences, taking responsibility, personal relationships and leadership.

Brownies and Guides have Sixes and Patrols which can be an easy way to split into groups, however you may want to mix groups up to give girls a chance to work with different girls and to give everyone the chance to contribute.

Number Two - Encourage self-government and decision-making:

Girls can choose, plan, and lead activities, developing their negotiation, influencing and listening skills, with the chance to reflect on what they’ve experienced and learnt. 

Girlguiding gives girls a safe environment to make mistakes and learn from them, without an academic standard.

There are various ways you can get girls involved in decision making when planning a term or even during a meeting. For example, Brownies could use a voting system such as heads or tails, while Rangers could use an online poll.

Number Three - A balanced and varied programme which is girl led:

Leaders should ensure unit activities are based around the needs of the girls, providing a balanced programme through indoor and outdoor activities, residential experiences and social action. Girls can achieve badges and awards for their efforts.

Number Four - Caring for the individual:

We want all girls to feel valued during their time in Girlguiding and all girls are expected to be sensitive to the needs of others. Learning about relationships and how to listen is a key life skill for every girl.

You can aid this in a number of ways such as helping girls to get to know each other and celebrating achievements together.

Number Five - Sharing a commitment to a common standard:

Girlguiding welcomes girls and women from all faiths, cultures and races.

We help girls to understand the Promise and Law, and how they can keep these commitments in their daily lives. The Promise underpins every element of the programme.