Promoting British Values in the Early Years
There has been a lot of talk on the topic about how do Early Years settings promote British Values. For some managers and practitioners it is still unclear as to how to promote these with the early year’s age group. With the new Ofsted inspections under way, more and more nurseries are beginning to panic. If management are unable to demonstrate how British Values are being actively promoted across the nursery it may affect their Leadership and management grade, therefore is it highly important for managers to be fully across the implementation of British Values.
So where did the promotion of British Values comes from? Nicky Morgan made an announcement in August 2014 in regards to the promotion of British Values being added to the early year’s curriculum. Since the announcement of this new addition, more and more people have welcomed further guidance on what British values means in the early years and reasoning behind calling it British Values.
So let’s take a look at what British Values are!
In the Early Education and childcare: Statutory guidance for local authority’s document by the DFE British values are described as:
Fundamental British values, first set out in the Government’s Prevent strategy, are democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. The promotion of fundamental British values will be reflected in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and exemplified in an age-appropriate way through practice guidance
The British Values have been broken down into the following headings;
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance
When teaching early years be mindful of how you teach them, it needs to be age appropriate and remember that children are individuals. You are probably already embedding them into your every day practice but remember Ofsted may question you on them.
To read about teaching British Values in your setting click here
Within the early years this is all about making decisions together, it focusses heavenly on children’s self confidence and self awareness- linked to children’s PSE
In practice managers and practitioners should support and encourage children to help them understand that their views count and that they should express them. By encouraging children to express their views it will teach children to values each others and talk about their feelings. With the older children there may be many occasions where you can involve children in sharing their views for example if you are changing your home corner around ask the children what they would like to see in there and this can be achieved by asking them to put their hands up.
For the younger children practitioners can support decision making by providing activities that involve turn taking, sharing and collaboration. Children need to be given these opportunities as it will begin to develop their minds and help them understand about why decisions are made.
Rule of Law
Rule of Law is about understanding rules , it focuses on managing children’s feelings and behaviour- Linked to children’s PSE
To help children manage their feelings and behaviours practitioners need to help children understand their own and others behaviours, children need to learn to distinguish right from wrong. In your every practice, ensure your behaviour management policy is being followed and is consistent; some settings may use golden rules or widget symbols to reinforce certain behaviour.
For young children it can be hard to teach them about rules, but by being consistent with regards to your behaviour management policy children will begin to learn right from wrong. Introduce the theme people who help us and teach children about the police and if your able to invite them in for a talk
A great way to help children fully understanding about rules is to let them be involved in the process of creating the rules eg rules about tidying up etc.
This is all about children’s freedom for all, it again focuses on children self confidence and self awareness as well as people & communities. But what does freedom for all mean in the early years?
Children need to be encouraged to develop a positive sense of themselves, to help achieve this practitioners should provide opportunities to help children develop their self knowledge, self esteem and increase their confidence in their own abilities. This can be done by allowing children to take risks indoors and outdoors for example on a climbing frame outdoors, or by mixing colours with paint, an activity that allows children to take that risk will help build those confidence skills.
During every day practice find time to have small discussions with children about how they feel about certain situations eg moving onto big school, this discussions will allow children to explore the language of feelings and it gives opportunities for children to express themselves and understand that children have different opinions.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance
This concentrates on treating others as you want to be treated; it focuses on people & communities, managing feelings & behaviour and making relationships
It is managers and leader’s responsibility to create an environment that is inclusive, it should respect and value views, faiths, cultures and races. It is also important that children are engaged with their wider community. Look at what is around you and actively get involved.
Children should be encouraged to show respect for their own culture and of others, to help support this join in celebrations and traditions and why not involve parents and grandparents. Joining in other cultural celebrations is a great way for children to learn and share other customs.
To help promote mutual respect it is important that practitioners focus on behaviour such as sharing and respecting others opinions, in early years there are many opportunities for practitioners to encourage sharing, this can be achieved with most activities. With regards to respecting others opinions, children need to understand that everyone has an opinion and whether they are right or wrong doesn’t matter.
Managers must ensure that the setting promotes equality and diversity, in practice this can be achieved by sharing stories that reflect and values the diversity of children’s experiences. Look around your environment do you have resources that challenge gender, cultural and racial stereotyping. It is not just about having a few multi faith books on the shelf and a few posters on the wall it’s about looking at how it can actively promoted across the setting both in practice and through the use of resources.
Having read all this, you will now hopefully understand that you are probably already promoting British Values in your setting
Here are a few more suggestions of how to promote British Values in your setting, this may include;
- During meals/ snacks teach children about table manners
- Celebrating British occasions and festivals
- Encourage children to listen to one another and wait before speaking
- Listening during stories or discussion time
- Using manners please and thank you
- Encourage children to be respectful of others
- Taking turns and sharing
- Teaching empathy and understandings
- Teach children about British weathers and seasons
- Join in wider community events/activities
- Cooking activities and learning about traditional British food
- Encourage children to make friendships