Recently there has been a lot of discussion amongst childminders about promoting “British values” with the children we care for. What should we be doing? why do we have to do this? and are we even suppose to be doing this? The information out there is still quite vague in terms of working with the early years age group but we do know this is something that is now being actively promoted in schools and teaching British values in the Early Years is something we will have to start doing as childminders.
So where has all this come from? In August 2014 the new Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, announced that the promotion of British values will be added to the early years curriculum. The full article was published in the Guardian after concerns about schools in Birmingham teaching extremist views.
In November 2014 the Department for Education published guidance on promoting British Values in schools.
Whether you agree with it or not it looks like this is something that will soon be implemented into the new common inspection framework by Ofsted so, as always, it’s best to be prepared ahead of any changes.
What are British Values?
In the Early Education and childcare: Statutory guidance for local authorities 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”
Schools are creating statements of how they promote and teach British values under the following headings (a quick Google brings up lots of versions).
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance
However when working with the Early Years age group these values need to be meaningful and age appropriate. They are already probably embedded in everything you do with the children you care for but we need to be aware of them should we be questioned by Ofsted.
Promoting British values in your setting:
Whilst endless planning, paperwork and displays aren’t needed it is important to be aware of how you already or might start to promote British values in your setting to show Ofsted should you be asked about this. These might include:
- Celebrating and marking British occasions and festivals (see the list below)
- Teaching children to listen to each other and wait before speaking, how to have a conversation
- Kindness, helpful, respectful of others
- Table manners
- Learning about our heritage and history
- Being polite, saying please and thank you
- Listening during story and song time
- Teaching empathy and understanding
- Appropriate behaviour and learning right from wrong
- Taking turns and sharing
- Learning British weather and seasons
- Being part of local community through outings and partnerships with local schools, nurseries etc
- Making friends and friendship
- Tolerating others and mutual respect
- Cooking, eating and learning about traditional British food
- Celebrating British authors and illustrators
British Festivals and Celebrations
Below are some of the festivals, celebrations and special dates we celebrate in Britain and are great to share with young children by doing activities with them to mark the occasion.
- Burns Night
- Valentines Day
- Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Day
- St David’s Day (Wales)
- St Piran’s Day
- St Patrick’s Day (N. Ireland)
- Mother’s Day
- April Fools Day
- Easter Weekend
- St George’s Day (England)
- Fathers Day
- Queens Birthday
- Summer Solstice
- Notting Hill Carnival
- Bonfire Night
- Remembrance Day
- Harvest Festival
- St Andre’s Day (Scotland)
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
- Free Training Course
- Fundamental British Values in the Early Years – by Foundation Years
- British Values and the agreements to provide early education places by Penny’s Place Childminding
- Teaching British Values to Toddlers the Easy Way by Henry’s Blog
- Prevent Duty (revised)
- Prevent Duty Departmental Advice DfE
- Teaching British Values – by childcare.co.uk
- Promoting fundamental British Values as part of SMSC in schools – DfE although there is no reference to the early years in this document a lot of the principles can be carried over.
- Early Education and childcare: Statutory guidance for local authorities – DfE
- 10 REAL British Values all childminders should teach to children – by Kay Woods
- Counter-terrorism and security act 2015 – HM Government
British Values Posters / Displays
- British Values Display Pack – Twinkl
- British Values Poster – Nursery Resources
- British Values Poster – Twinkl
- British Values Display Pack – Instant Displays