Promoting Great British Values helps instil a sense of pride, respect and tolerance in young children and is now a key part of the EYFS curriculum. Makes sense – aren’t we all keen to create children who behave well, tolerate one another’s opinions and can resolve disputes calmly?
But did you know there is a more serious side to this agenda, which was introduced in 2015 by the Government when it became a legal requirement for all early years providers to implement a Prevent Duty policy as part of their wider Safeguarding responsibilities?
At a deeper level, the motivation for the Prevent Duty is to avert potential situations where young children are drawn into terrorism as a result of exposure to extremist messages. To counter this, early years providers now have a responsibility to introduce activities that positively and enthusiastically showcase British values that directly oppose radical views. They are:
• Democracy: making decisions together
• Rule of law: understanding rules matter
• Individual liberty: freedom for all
• Mutual respect and tolerance: treat others as you wish to be treated.
This all sounds very serious – and of course it is – however the way these values are delivered is only ever light-hearted, and is
always integrated with other activities the children are participating in. For example, in daily life children are encouraged to make collective decisions about their choice of activity, join in with small discussion groups where they share and exchange opinions about simple things like food or holidays, are encouraged to agree between them the ‘rules’ they will all abide by in
certain games, or share responsibility for tidying up.
In Germany recently (Telegraph, 11th August 2017) the Dolli Einstein Haus was certified as the first ‘democracy nursery’. The nursery is gives children a vote on everything from breakfast menus to nappy changing, and introduces the concept of democracy from the very beginning. It’s all about empowering children and giving them a sense of their own rights as individuals; something that is also very much at the heart of the EYFS.
At The Wendy House Day Nursery, we are very keen to promote British Values – not for the sake of it – but because they fit well with our own ethos. We take our responsibilities in this area very seriously and would emphasise that British Values are only ever incorporated in a relevant and fun way – as part of daily life and to support the creation of positive, constructive and supportive relationships with adults and their peers alike
Cucumber sandwich, anyone….?