Community Project: Rainbows

I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old. Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged …

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I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a
Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old.

Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged five to seven. They take part in different activities, trips and overnight adventures all based around the Girlguiding program and our promise:

“I promise that I will do my best, to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Guide law.”

This is simplified for the Rainbows to:

“I promise that I will do my best to think about my beliefs and to be kind and helpful.”

(Girlguiding, 2019)

The most surprising thing I found at this unit was how big it was. The unit has been split into two and has up to 20 girls in each sections. The sections run back to back so we can have up to 40 girls in a night. We run this with two leaders and two young leaders. This also presents several challenges as we have a very small space in which to work and controlling girls who like to run around screaming can be very challenging. We try to overcome this by working with the girls in small groups when doing the activities.

Another challenge I have faced is learning about the new program that has been implemented in Girlguiding. I took a year out from Guiding when I came to university so did not receive any training for the new program, therefore I am having to learn how the program works and the new way in which the girls are earning badges and awards.

Despite these challenges I absolutely love working with the girls. It is one of the reasons I decided to become a primary teacher. I love being able to work with them and teach them new skills. To be able to see girls walk out with a smile on their faces that they didn’t come in with is really amazing to see.

The girls all come from different schools and different backgrounds but they all come together once a week to  work and play together. In doing this they are able to create their own community within Rainbows. Rainbows also take part in wider community events. Recently the rainbows took part in the Remembrance day service at the church we meet in. Rainbow units could also look after community flower or vegetable plots, help with toy appeals or visit care homes.

Girlguiding within itself is a community made up of “50,000 young members” and “11,500” volunteers in Scotland alone (Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This, however, is just one country if we look at our worldwide community – who all come together under the name of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) – we have 150 countries and 10 million members all over the globe ( World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, n.d. and Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This is something that I find amazing that 10 million girls and women can be connected by one single organisation which has commons goals and outlooks. Being part of girlguiding has allowed me to meet and become friends with people from across the country and around the world. It is through this community that I was able to start up with another Rainbow unit in another town.

Within Rainbows I have been able to build my confidence when controlling a group of children. I have also developed my communication skills with parents, children and with other volunteers. These are essential skills in teaching as communication and control are paramount in the classroom. I’ve also been able to develop my confidence in being able to keep this age group focussed on tasks – another thing that is vital in the classroom. As I continue to volunteer I feel that my skills in communicating and engaging children will improve. I also feel that I will be able to transfer the experiences of learning through play from Rainbows into the classroom.

Many of the activities that are in the Rainbow program have to be adapted to suit the venue, resources and the type of girls we have. This would be similar to the differentiation that has to be done in a classroom. This sometimes has to be done very quickly with no prior planning because of changing circumstances. This skill will help in my development as a teacher in a ever changing environment.

Volunteering with the Rainbows links with Sustainable Development through the badges that focus on looking after the planet and looking after the community. Girlguiding’s (2019) “#PlasticPromise” that is a pledge to reduce single-use plastic.

Rainbows also links to Interprofessional Working because as a Rainbow leader I need to work with other leaders and young leaders, district commissioners, county commissioners, parents, other organisations and the church minister. This requires good communication skills and the ability to work well as a team.

 

References

Girlguiding (2019) Girlguiding launches #PlasticPromise, the biggest ever girl-led campaign to tackle plastic pollution [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/what-we-do/our-stories-and-news/news/girlguiding-launches-plastic-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding (2019) The Promise [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/about-us/what-makes-guiding-special/the-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Facts and Figures [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/what-we-say/press-and-media/facts-and-figures/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Rainbows (age 5 – 7) [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/who-we-are/what-girls-can-do/rainbows/ [Accessed 25 November 2019]

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (n.d.) Membership [Online] Available: https://www.wagggs.org/en/about-us/membership/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Reflections on Placement

Having just come back from my first two weeks Primary School experience I can honestly say it was informative, motivating, enjoyable, exhausting and an eye opener in respect of what life as a teacher really involves. I had the opportunity … Continue reading

Having just come back from my first two weeks Primary School experience I can honestly say it was informative, motivating, enjoyable, exhausting and an eye opener in respect of what life as a teacher really involves. I had the opportunity to experience a range of classes, from P2-P7, this gave me the chance to learn an enormous amount in respect of the variety of teaching styles, the different levels of learning, as well as see the struggles faced by some children. I tried to take away as much knowledge from this experience as I possibly could.

Strength
I have always thought I was a good communicator with a bubbly, enthusiastic personality. This was highlighted as a strength during my peer observation, and from the teachers I worked with during my 2 weeks placement. When engaging with the students I would listen attentively, encourage and provide support where it was needed. I was interested to hear what the pupils had to say no matter their age, I found that P7 pupils appreciated your attention and assistance just as much as the younger pupils. Working with children either 1-2-1 or within small groups gives me a real sense of purpose and seeing them interested and wanting to learn fuels my enthusiasm.

Area for Development
I need to work on my pace and tone, I am aware that I speed up my speech when I’m both nervous and excited. This was highlighted during my peer observation and I when doing my own reflections. I need to be able to control my pace and tone more effectively, to adapt it in different situations and depending on the ages of the pupils I am working with. For example, when talking with younger children I need to slow down to make sure I am fully understood.

Action Plan

I need to develop my knowledge/strategies around varying my pace and tone to find out what will work for me. I feel this will help me to be more focused and aware of when I need to alter my pace/tone. This will help me to manage situations where I am nervous.

Reflection on outdoor Den Building task.

-Group and Leadership From my perspective there did not appear to be a single group leader. This task was very much a team effort completed with everyone voicing their ideas and the group as a whole deciding whether to go with them. From a building perspective everyone seemed to adopt their own areas to work […]

-Group and Leadership

From my perspective there did not appear to be a single group leader. This task was very much a team effort completed with everyone voicing their ideas and the group as a whole deciding whether to go with them. From a building perspective everyone seemed to adopt their own areas to work on, with constant communications with nearby team members to ensure everyone knew what each person was doing. The group dynamic was very informal without a set leader, but the team worked really well together and we were all very proud or our end result. The entire team worked on the den so nobody was left excluded or observing from the sidelines. The most challenging thing about this task for me was working closely with people that I had only had brief encounters with so it seemed bad to ask who people were just over 3 weeks into the course, but it was all taken in good stride so wasn’t a big deal.

-Explaining

The other groups I went to see explained their ideas very clearly, I knew what their thought processes were and how they executed the building. they explained what issues they encountered and what their successes were leading to their end results. From what I could see the Preparation part was left out pf the explanations, I found this to be the case as the team added on numerous end notes to their explanation as if they forgot to say that, but over all the rest of the 5 P’s were met sufficiently.

-Environment

Being in the outdoor environment resulted in our communication being effected. Being outside meant we had to communicate in a different way, speak louder then we would indoors, use different tools than we would indoors and speak more clearly in order to successfully get our individual points across easier. There wasn’t a great deal of surrounding noise so the sounds of the environment were not particularly challenging, however in the outdoors this fan change very quickly. This can be overcome by the speaker talking louder and clearer and the listener standing closer if possible and having an increased concentration on the speaker in order to not miss anything that is being communicated to them. Personally I did find some aspects of the environment to be a distraction as there is always something that can catch your eye and take your mind off the task in hand. This is slightly more difficult to overcome however making a conscious effort to concentrate more on the task in hand will help significantly.

-Negotiation

Our team negotiations were all successful and we managed to acquire materials that appeared to be vital to another teams structure. The main challenge with the negotiations was convincing the other teams to trade with us something that was a vital part of their structure. This was difficult as they wanted something either equally valuable to us, or something that sufficiently replaced what they were giving us. Through the use of persuasive language and some very skilled negotiating we managed to get what we were wanting, without any major sacrifices to our structure.

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