Ofsted’s Common Inspection Framework includes an entire section on including fundamental British values across all levels of education. Guidance has been a bit thin on the ground, but why are the Early Years getting so upset about the introduction of Fundamental British Values?
Every day in the early years, we promote Fundamental British Values without even thinking about them, these values are promoted within the EYFS in PSED and Understanding the world, so do we need to do anything different?
Within the Early Years we ask children all the time to share their views and experiences, we talk all the time about respecting and understanding other people’s views, we ask them what they would like to do, what they would like the role play area to be etc, we encourage turn taking, sharing collaboration – all of this is democracy.
How many times have you heard yourself say, “Only 3 people allowed in the role play area” and then spend time negotiating with the children who is going to come out, because there are too many children in there? How many times have you heard yourself saying, “we only have kind hands in nursery, we do not hurt our friends” then we talk about consequences if they carry on, do we not ask all the children to help at tidy up time? – this is rule of law.
We promote children’s self esteem every day, we build their confidence in their own abilities, we encourage risk taking, we ask children about their feelings, we talk about differences, we negotiate arguments and help children understand that everyone has a right to their own opinions etc. – this is individual liberty/freedom for all.
Mutual respect and tolerance – we have been inclusive for many, many years! We celebrate other religious festivals, we celebrate our own festivals, we share stories that reflect non stereo typical images, we challenge children if they say inappropriate things to their friends.
This emphasis on teaching children about everything British, is in my opinion a nonsense, Britain is a multicultural society and that is the way we all want it to stay, if we truly want to promote tolerance for all then concentrating on British food, British artists, British festivals etc, just highlights an intolerance for others and a lack of understanding about the truly multicultural communities of Britain.
Let us know what you have been trying in the comments. And for goodness sake – don’t just put up a poster!
I have put together a few words to show you just how easy it can be. If that’s not enough, how about all the values mapped to Development Matters! Sign up for a document that shows exactly that. You will also be added to our monthly newsletter and receive information about future resources as they become available, you can opt out of this excellent service if you wish.
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About the author: Jo Lynton