What are British Values, and how can you bring them into your childcare setting?
Actively promoting and teaching British Values in EYFS is a hot topic in the world of childcare, particularly since the launch of Ofsted’s new Common Inspection Framework in 2015.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a legal government framework used in early years settings. Its aim is to encourage every child’s healthy development and readiness for future learning. The new SMSC Quality Mark for Primary and Secondary Schools also aims to help schools recognise and review the development of SMSC, which includes British Values.
So it’s evident that teaching these values from a young age is a big deal and shouldn’t be ignored.
To make this article easier to understand we have broken it down into six sections that cover what the British Values are and how you can teach them through some of the seven areas of development.
1. What are British Values as detailed by Ofsted?
2. Bringing British Values into your setting
3. Teaching British Values through literacy in the EYFS
4. Teaching British Vales through understanding the world
5. Teaching British Values through physical development
6. Teaching British Values through rule making
1.What are British Values as detailed by Ofsted?
According to Ofsted, the following British Values must be incorporated and demonstrated through EYFS learning and play:
• The rule of law
• Individual liberty
• Mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
To elaborate, in order to incorporate democracy, we must showcase everyone being treated equally and having equal rights.
In the early years it is all about teaching children that their opinions are important and that each child’s thoughts and feelings should be listened to and valued.
It’s also important to teach children that sometimes they will be given the power to choose and will make decisions on their own and in groups.
You can promote democracy in your setting daily by:
• Having a daily choice board – give children the option to choose which activities they are going to do during the morning session. Encourage them to respect each other’s decisions and discuss how children feel when the activity they would like isn’t chosen for that session. If there’s some children that cannot verbally communicate well, use picture cards.
• Story time – lay out a selection of books and ask children to vote showing hands for which one they would prefer to listen to.
• Turn taking – this can be done in a variety of ways through games, letters and sounds activities and times when there are limited resources.
• Emotions – help children to identify their emotions and talk about reasons for these emotions. Think about having some emotions cards in the setting so that children that cannot verbalise their feelings can still share them. Identifying emotions is an important step in children being able to manage their emotions.
Mutual respect and tolerance for others are about treating other people how you would like to be treated and learning to understand and appreciate each other’s differences, without allowing those differences to cause a change in the treatment of any sort.
It’s about being a part of a community where not everyone is the same and forming relationships within community that without discrimination. The environment in your setting should be inclusive, respectful and value faiths, cultures and races.
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.
You can promote respect and tolerance in your setting by:
• Encouraging children to share stories of their home that reflect the values and the diversity of their experiences.
• Provide resources and activities that challenge gender, cultural and racial stereotyping.
• Try and take the children on visits that engage with the wider community, such as to an elderly peoples home or religious festival.
It’s not just about having different diverse resources in your setting, it’s about actively promoting respect and tolerance.
Ensure that children understand their own and others’ behaviour and its consequences and help them to distinguish right from wrong by promoting ‘the rule of law’.
You can promote the rule of law in your setting daily by:
- Working with the children to create rules and codes of behaviour, such as agreeing rules about tidying up, and also ensuring children understand that the rules apply to everyone.
- Invite a policeman to visit and learn about ‘people who help us’ and the laws and rules that we need to follow.
- Have a set of ‘house rules’ making sure you model this behaviour by following these rules too.
- Try and help children to understand their actions and the consequences. For example, by explaining to them how something they have done might have made another child feel instead of just asking them to say ‘sorry’.
Finally, individual liberty requires children to understand and value their own self and to gain confidence in making choices. Self-esteem, self-confidence and self-awareness are key.
You can promote individual liberty in your setting daily by:
- Providing opportunities for risk taking such as obstacle courses for children to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and increase their confidence in their own abilities.
- Encouraging a range of experiences that allow children to explore the language of feelings and responsibility, reflect on their differences and understand everyone is free to have different opinions.
- Providing activities and opportunities such as mixing their own colours for leaf painting and taking part in races on the setting’s sports day. This helps children to develop a positive sense of themselves and increases their confidence and own abilities.
- Having group discussions about how the children may feel about the activities they did today or the story at story time. Allow them to voice their own feelings and understand that they are free to have different opinions.
“We celebrate British Values in practice and ensure that we embrace our citizenship and the diverse culture we are so lucky to be a part of.”
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