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Fundamental British Values EYFS: How to promote and demonstrate in the early years

11 min of reading
04 October 2023
Fundamental British Values EYFS

British values EYFS activities are naturally intertwined with other EYFS activities you offer your children daily. The five British values nurseries must follow, help children (and their families) to understand, appreciate and celebrate how different communities work together in Great Britain.

We unpicked the origins of British values EYFS and how to promote and demonstrate British values as a priority across your early years setting.

In this article, you will find:

    What are fundamental British values EYFS?

    Fundamental British values are a statutory requirement of the EYFS curriculum. Fundamental British values help children to positively contribute to the local and national multi-diverse community of Great Britain. EYFS activities should celebrate and value the modern diversity of the UK.

    The five fundamental British values are democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

    British values EYFS: where did they come from?

    British values EYFS were introduced in 2015 within the Prevent Duty guidance for schools. Prevent duty was brought in through increasing concerns surrounding extremist views and the influence these have on children.

    The duty for schools and EYFS settings is underpinned by safeguarding responsibilities for the child’s welfare and understanding of the world around them. This duty combines safeguarding and equality.

    EYFS settings are not expected to undertake British values activities in isolation. Nurseries should underpin the British values necessary for the children, families and communities they serve.

    British values EYFS: how to promote them

    Promoting British values in the early years should go hand in hand with the EYFS current curriculum. Looking at some examples of how the five British values are demonstrated in your nursery? There are far more opportunities in your everyday EYFS provision than you may realise.

    British values celebrate difference and diversity and encourage how best to work together, even with differing beliefs and views. Promoting language and communication skills with toddlers is a huge step towards recognising and celebrating diversity

    Promoting opportunities for children to work together, listen and contribute to discussions with other children and adults and learn within the agreed boundaries of the nursery promotes British values

    Nursery families may have outdated views that should be challenged by sharing educational information about important topics. These topics may be challenging gender stereotypes and unintentional sexist behaviours in EYFS, how to celebrate racial diversity in the nursery or the acceptance of different views and beliefs. You can use your nursery software to share informative articles about these important topics or invite parents to coffee mornings to unpick essential issues like gender stereotypes and how certain toys and clothing may encourage these outdated views.

    Tackling challenging conversations with parents can be daunting, but discussing strategies in helping to manage irate or frustrated parents as a nursery team is useful

    What is democracy in British values?

    Democracy is the first of the EYFS British values. As Great Britain is run under a democratic government, citizens of the UK can have a say about how the country is run. Democracy in the early years can be demonstrated in lots of different ways.

    Engage parents with decision-making in your nursery, like contributing to ideas for menus, uniform choices and the setting’s ethos.

    British values democracy examples for early years

    When recording child observations, it is helpful to know how democracy can be demonstrated in the early years. Most primary schools have a school council or even a pupil government, helping to show how democracy works in a school. Nominating a representative in your EYFS setting to join a ‘nursery council’ might be slightly beyond a toddler’s capacity, but helping children make decisions together is an easy way to show you are promoting British values EYFS.

    Any activities that promote the following skills are developing British values of democracy understanding:

    British values rule of law in EYFS

    British values rule of law is the second of the five values children will learn throughout their EYFS and school journey. Rule of law is easily linked to PSED EYFS objectives. It covers understanding right and wrong and how to manage their actions in line with the boundaries set by society and the nursery.

    Rule of law British values aim for children to recognise the boundaries and consequences they have in place for safety, wellbeing and effective learning.

    Rule of law British values examples for EYFS.

    Many PSED EYFS activities allow for rule of law exploration. Children in nursery settings should be given free range to play imaginatively. By setting boundaries of what safe play looks like in EYFS and how to play inclusively with others, children can understand the consequences of their actions.

    PSED EYFS activities that encourage the development of the following skills help to show your nursery is promoting British values rule of law:

    British values individual liberty in the early years

    All of the fundamental British values are interlinked, and there are clear connections between democracy and individual liberty in EYFS. Individual liberty covers children’s understanding of themselves and others, exploring where they fit within communities.

    Children should be taught their fundamental rights and how to develop a positive sense of self. Several ‘Understanding the World’ EYFS activities are appropriate to use to develop a child’s concept of their individual liberty, including their own personal boundaries within games. Community structures and how they can positively contribute to their local environment.

    Individual liberty British values examples for early years.

    Activities you choose to develop individual liberty in EYFS will incorporate building their voice. The confidence to stand up for their beliefs and productively voice their opinions (although recognising they are 2-5 years old!)

    Activities that promote individual liberty British values will focus on:

    British values mutual respect in the early years.

    Mutual respect is one of the five British values; it is important to be developed from the start of EYFS. Mutual respect British values activities can help children to work alongside different personalities, developing life-long social skills.

    Mutual respect in EYFS is a skill that your nursery practitioners will regularly demonstrate to parents, other team members and the children themselves. Explaining the importance of showing mutual respect to all of the nursery community during nursery walkarounds can help when managing frustrated or angry parents; helping to build positive home-nursery relationships.

    Mutual respect British values examples for toddlers.

    Toddlers don’t always like to share; teaching mutual respect is a long-term process. There are lots of mutual respect British values activities you can try to allow children to practice developing social skills during their time at nursery.

    Mutual respect British values activities might look at developing:

    British values tolerance of others for EYFS.

    Building tolerance for other faiths and beliefs helps to widen children’s understanding of the world around them. Combining several of the seven areas for learning and development EYFS, nursery children can discover different cultures, traditions and beliefs through Art, early reading opportunities and technology.

    British values tolerance activity ideas for toddlers.

    Social skills underpin British values tolerance activities. Building an appreciation for different methods of working, playing and exploration. You can implement many activities into your nursery’s daily diet to build tolerance of others.

    British values EYFS activities that are aiming to increase tolerance of others should cover:

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