Part of the Early Years Foundation Stage that we teach at Shine Childcare includes teaching ‘British values’. You may wonder what this means – is it an affinity for fish and chips, cups of tea and learning how to queue? This post will explain some of the principles that we teach as part of our programme.
What are British Values?
Ofsted have said that ‘fundamental British values’ include:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith
But what do these mean in practice?
Democracy – making decision together
Children flourish when they know that they are being listened to and that their thoughts and opinions matter. By helping children to understand how they can impact others, we help to develop their self-confidence and awareness.
We work together with the children in many ways to demonstrate this. There’s the nursery council which is made up of children who represent their peers, making decisions on what they want to eat, or what plants they want for their gardens. We do collaborative tasks like tidy up time. We make time to discuss a variety of topics allowing each child to express themselves properly.
Democracy at home – you can practice this at home too! Come up with a list of jobs that you can do around the house. Discuss with your child which ones they want to do and work with them to help them manage it. It could be sorting out the laundry into piles or putting away the dishes.
Rule of Law – understanding rules matter
One of the most important things that we learn in life is the difference between right and wrong. In nursery, we promote the right behaviour using a number of systems based on the age of the child, with emotion spoons for babies and toddlers, happy and sad faces for the over 2s, and a traffic light system for pre school-aged children.
Rule of law at home – at nursery, we work with the children to come up with a list of rules that work for everyone. Can you do that at home? By coming up with the rules together, you can all explain why you think that they are important.
Individual Liberty – freedom for all
Giving a child opportunities to think for themselves helps to build their self-esteem and prepares them for the future. We do this in lots of ways at Shine Childcare.
- Making sure that children feel confident by giving them responsibilities, such as being the Little Helper at lunch time, handing out cups and cutlery to their friends.
- Teaching them how to care properly for the guinea pigs, Fanta and Dumbledore (as well as the snails).
- Encouraging them to try new things such as going on the slide for the first time.
- Promoting child-initiated play, allowing them to choose what it is that they want to do.
All these activities help to develop their self-confidence, leading them to try even more new and exciting ventures.
Individual liberty at home – give your child the responsibility for feeding your pets. If you don’t have a pet, what would they like to be in charge of?
Mutual Respect and Tolerance – treat others as you want to be treated
You don’t have to be British to have British values. No matter where you may be from or what religion you practise, everyone deserves respect from others for their culture, views and faith. We actively promote many countries and cultures from around the world, showing the similarities and differences between them.
From saying “please” and “thank you” to learning and celebrating different festivals from around the world, and by treating everyone with kindness and tolerance, we learn to appreciate those around us.
Mutual respect and tolerance at home – In Britain, many of our favourite foods are from different countries – pizza from Italy, curries from India. Try food from a country that you haven’t had before. How is it different? What is it similar to that you’ve had before? You might find a new favourite!