In September 2015, Ofsted published guidance on promoting ‘Fundamental British Values’. The components are…

  • Democracy: making decisions together
  • The rule of law: understanding rules matter
  • Individual liberty: freedom for all
  • Mutual respect and tolerance: treat others how you want to be treated

At Young Friends, our care and provision has always incorporated these values as we firmly believe that children learn best when they are given opportunities to make decisions for themselves, understand that rules are created to keep them safe and secure, feel their individuality is valued, and that others will reciprocate respect towards them no matter their dissimilarities. Not much arguing with that is there?

Here’s a little breakdown of the different sections to help you understand what they mean and how we incorporate them into our everyday provision…

Democracy:

This is about making decisions together…Democracy at Young Friends is all about ensuring children have as many opportunities as possible to share their views, talk about their feelings, and collaborate with others in a positive way. Therefore…

  • Every member of our team gets down on the children’s level when speaking or listening to them
  • Children are discouraged in various from interrupting others and encouraged to wait their turn to share ideas and praised for doing so
  • Our team use sand and oil timers and other time-keeping methods for quality and effective turn-taking and sharing of resources. Children are encouraged to have an awareness of when they need to use these methods i.e. when they are perhaps quarrelling over a toy
  • Visual timetables and choosing boards are available so that children know the routine and are given opportunities to choose their own resources – thus giving them control over their days with us
  • Open-ended resources and loose parts available inside and out for critical thinking and collaboration
  • Beautifully set up Reggio Emilia tables are in all rooms to encourage self-selection, self-directed play, confidence and creativity

Rule of Law: understanding rules matter

Behaviour management is a crucial component of our daily provision and all team members are trained and supported in consistently providing this to a very high quality. We focus on positive reinforcement – aiming to encourage children to understand their own behaviour and be able to express an understanding of the importance of our rules.

  • Children are expected to tidy up their resources and environment during and after play
  • Transition techniques such as warning sand timers, bells, stop hands, and rhythmic claps all focus on children’s ability to manage their behaviour, direct their attention, and respect set rules
  • Behaviour management is always age appropriate and incorporates Makaton and visual images
  • Staff and the preschool special helpers wear behaviour necklaces as visual reminders of rules such as no running, keeping hands and feet to yourself, and using indoor voices
  • Staff are consistent in their behaviour management and when necessary plans are created with families for repetitive behaviour issues such as biting or anger management in an effort to determine causes and provide further support
  • Persona Dolls and other social activities are used to facilitate discussion about acceptable or unacceptable behaviours
  • Staff are trained on and expected not to show favoritism and demonstrate good equalities practice so that all children are treated fairly with regards to rules

Individual liberty: freedom for all

Here at Young Friends we strongly believe building confidence is the key to unlocking children’s learning potential. Without a strong sense of self and confidence, they will not enjoy or benefit from all the experiences that we provide or the community (room/group) in which they belong within the nursery. We do too many things to mention in order to focus on this; Here is a selection…

  • All activities and resources are at child level including sinks for handwashing and scissors to cut (excepting 0-24mths)
  • All children have a keyworker responsible for creating a bond, giving them a secure base from which to explore and learn, and ensure that their primary area of self-confidence and self-esteem is developing adequately
  • All groups use Makaton to support not only younger, non-speaking children, but children who are more comfortable with non-verbal communication. Makaton signs also include the language of feelings so non-verbal children can demonstrate understanding of their own and others’ feelings
  • Pictures of children in their room and environment from coat pegs to place mats are all around the nursery to instill a sense of belonging
  • Show and tell time in the preschool encourages children to talk to their peers about an item of importance to them. They love this!
  • Children’s accomplishments are always praised and celebrated on the spot and at the end of the day. During afternoon group time, each child is praised for something they’ve done and a special ‘Star of the Day’ badge is given to one or two children who’ve excelled
  • Verbal and pictorial images of feelings and emotions are around the nursery to encourage discussion and awareness
  • Toys and play are never gender-biased, i.e. the boys can’t wear dresses from the dressing up box. Young Friends feels very passionately about children having the freedom to express themselves in a way that is natural to them
  • We do not support limiting aspects of children’s experiences at parental request i.e. they can’t play with water or go outside, unless it detrimentally affects their health such as allergies with a particular item or resource. Our resources and experiences are freely available to all children – rest assured we would not put anything out that would negatively affect them i.e. freezing water in mid-winter.
  • Children are encouraged to challenge their limitations. With an adult on hand for support, they must always try to do for themselves; serving food, pouring drinks, putting on clothing, etc.
  • We purposefully provide challenges for the children e.g. hills to climb and different surfaces to negotiate. After all mistakes (within reason) are proof that one is trying!

Mutual respect and tolerance: treat others as you want to be treated:

As a progressive, forward-thinking nursery, we celebrate our diversity, multiculturalism and inclusive practice. We believe the core of all four of these values is an aim to understand, respect, and tolerate our differences and recognize and appreciate our similarities. So…

  • Images and books in the environment are inclusive and diverse
  • Languages other than English are incorporated in group routines so that children’s home languages have a place within their day i.e. numbers in German at morning group time
  • All children’s cultural festivals and celebrations are planned for as educational opportunities, i.e. Thanksgiving (American), Nowruz (Persian) etc. and families are encouraged to let us know the holidays they celebrate and how so that we can plan for them.
  • Persona Dolls have a background story that highlights their cultural traditions, family dynamics and social situations that offer children the opportunity to relate and/or gain understanding of others’ experiences.
  • Themed multicultural weeks offer families the opportunity to come in and share their culture, language, stories, etc. with the nursery.
  • An Equalities representative is on hand to ensure fair and equal representation of people to avoid stereotypical imagery or understanding of others.
  • Young Friends Nursery Values has been created in collaboration with the team and families, incorporating their feedback and what we believe to be our core values, which include honesty, respect, teamwork and communication. These values are posted throughout the nursery.

Young Friends endeavors to respect and acknowledge all cultures and traditions of families who join our nursery. As such we also expect everyone to respect the traditions and culture of Britain. We close for Bank Holidays and Christian (our predominant faith) observances such as Easter, celebrate the monarchy and champion tea and scones. That’ll be British humor…