Saturday, 25 August 2007

four new brownie badges

Four new Brownie Guide badges for the new term: Brownie Skills, Designer, Number Fun and Healthy Heart.

My daughter has already professed her desire to do Brownie Skills, Number Fun and Healthy Heart but isn't interested in Designer. That's fine, one of the great things about the range of badges we have in our badge book is that not all will appeal to everyone, but there is plenty to appeal to most.

Must admit, the Healthy Heart one has come in for a bit of criticism for being "preachy". I personally think it is the type of thing the girls are learning at school and is a chance to advance on that knowledge in a personal way that relates to them, so I have no problem with it.

Number Fun - for a girl that doesn't like Maths, I can see that it might seem too much like school. But if you do like maths, and playing with numbers, then it looks like good fun.

And I can't fault a badge that teaches about opening a bank account, budgeting a meal or knowing how to stamp a letter. All useful skills for the future.

My personal favourite is Brownie Skills. Almost every clause is a useful skill for life, something that seems really easy to anyone who has been taught that particular skill, but someone has to teach it in the first place.

I can see this being the type of badge that we prep before hand taking 10-15 mins per clause then save for meetings that run short. That way, the girls are picking up new skills, even the most shy girl who wouldn't work on a badge at home will be likely to earn one during the meetings, and we have a time filler that is more worthwhile than whipping out colouring sheets or crosswords - current standbys along with the more popular games and outdoor fun of course.

The last one is Designer, and I must admit, like my daughter, probably I find this the least interesting. Could this be because I am raising a Mini-Me?

Anyway, I do see the merit in the badge, don't get me wrong, and I see it as a badge that a girl will be able to work on at home and then report in when she's ready. Again, the badge book includes a good range of badges that can be done as a whole unit, as a six, and as an individual and this just enhances that.

I think the 2nd clause could well be the hardest. As an adult, many people feel confident in citing a design source or influence but I think that is harder for children to grasp.

Still, as they will be working on that one at home, I think, there will be more time for them to research and cite Rothko, Proust or Mackintosh when making their final presentation for the badge.

As a balance between practical skills, healthy fun and improving the offering of more specialised badges, I think these four strike a good balance.

Another three badges are being refreshed as well, same badge but slightly different syllabus. First Aid, to reflect recent changes to CPR, Agility to offer more options (I think) and Science Investigator which has been perceived as very hard to work through. We're actually doing Science Investigator this term coming, and as the new syllabus hasn't been published will be sticking to the old one, but I have found a really great resource that the Manchester Science Museum created that talks you through the whole badge, so we're fairly confident.

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