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 encouraged to take turns and share resources at every opportunity, and are able to manage this independently with the support of sand timers, allowing them to manage their own time.
  • Visual timetables and choosing boards are available in each room so children are aware of the routine and can manage their own play experiences.
  • Opportunities for children to share their feelings, thoughts and ideas with others are valued and respected.
  • Children are discouraged in various ways 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 having a dispute over a toy
  • 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.

  • The Pre-school room has ‘Golden Rules’ which the children created themselves which we refer to throughout the day. These rules are modelled and promote each of the Fundamental British values.
  • Each room had a praise system in place where children are able to put marbles in jars when they follow a room rule.
  • 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 to determine causes and provide further support
  • Staff wear visuals around their neck to promote some of the nursery rules we have in place, e.g. Walking inside, Good listening, Inside voices etc
  • Visual timetables are displayed in each room and regularly referred to so the children are aware of what is happening next and what is expected of them.
  • Room routines are structured and repetitive for the children, with transition times supported with 5 minute warnings and sand timers and rhythmic repetitive claps to help direct a child attention to what it is that needs to be done. All these things focus on children’s ability to manage their behaviour, direct their attention, and respect set rules
  • All staff have had appropriate training in managing behaviour positively and modelling what we expect of the children by doing it ourselves
  • Children are expected to tidy up their resources and environment during and after play
  • 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 favouritism and demonstrate consistent 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…

  • We give the children time and opportunity to choose their own play and resources and have their personal freedom. They are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in safe and supportive environment
  • In the Pre-school ‘Show and Tell’ happens twice weekly where the children can bring their own items in from home and show to their friends.
  • The daily planning of the rooms comes from the children’s voice and interests
  • Each room has two group times a day where the children are encouraged to participate in, sharing their likes and dislikes, ideas and feelings.
  • We educate and provide boundaries for the children to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering learning.
  • Children are encouraged to be as independent as possible e.g. pouring their own drinks, serving their own food, cleaning own faces, washing their own hands – and are praised for doing so. Sinks, toilets are all at the children’s levels and resources are all age appropriate for the ease of the children.
  • Staff are constantly challenging the children encouraging their self confidence with risks throughout the day e.g. A tricky obstacle course in the garden, and children are praised for accomplishing these milestones.
  • We do not stereotype at Young Friends, all children are allowed to play with what they want and wear what they want, and encouraged to do so.
  • All children have a key person 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
  • Children’s accomplishments are always praised and celebrated on the spot with their room methods – marbles, praise balls and pictures.
  • 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…

  • All children’s cultural festivals and celebrations are planned for as educational opportunities, and families are encouraged to let us know the holidays they celebrate and how so that we can plan for them.
  • We have an inclusive and diverse selection of books celebrating different religions, cultures and home life, as well as visuals, toys, costumes and props
  • An Equalities representative is on hand to ensure fair and equal representation of people to avoid stereotypical imagery or understanding of others.
  • Themed multicultural weeks offer families the opportunity to come in and share their culture, language, stories, etc. with the nursery.
  • 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.
  • 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 and other songs and phrases
  • 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.
  • Families are encouraged to provide words, books and favourite songs from their languages/cultures to celebrate each child and make them feel proud of who they are.
  • 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.
  • 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…