British Values in
the Early Years
It's important the thinkers and doers have a good understanding of the fundamental British Values to see their role in society and make their views count.
Democracy: making decisions together
Encourage children to see their role in the bigger picture, to know their views count, value each other’s views and values and talk about their feelings, for example when they do or do not need help, eg vote with a show of hands.
Support the decisions that children make and provide activities that involve turn-taking, sharing and collaboration. Children should be given opportunities to develop enquiring minds in an atmosphere where questions are valued.
Rule of law: understanding rules matter
Ensure that children understand their own and others’ behaviour and its consequences, and learn to distinguish right from wrong.
Collaborate with children to create the rules and the codes of behaviour, for example, to agree the rules about tidying up and ensure that all children understand rules apply to everyone.
Individual liberty: freedom for all
Help children develop a positive sense of themselves. Provide opportunities for children to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and increase their confidence in their own abilities, for example through allowing children to take risks on an obstacle course, mixing colours, talking about their experiences and learning.
Encourage a range of experiences that allow children to explore the language of feelings and responsibility, reflect on their differences and understand we are free to have different opinions, for example in a small group discuss what they feel about transferring into Reception Class.
Mutual respect and tolerance: treat others as you want to be treated
Create an ethos of inclusivity and tolerance where views, faiths, cultures and races are valued and children are engaged with the wider community.
Discuss similarities and differences between themselves and others and among families, faiths, communities, cultures and traditions and share and discuss practices, celebrations and experiences.
Explain the importance of tolerant behaviours such as sharing and respecting other’s opinions.
Promote diverse attitudes and challenge stereotypes, for example, sharing stories that reflect and value the diversity of children’s experiences and providing resources and activities that challenge gender, cultural and racial stereotyping.
What is not acceptable is:
- Actively promoting intolerance of other faiths, cultures and races
- Failure to challenge gender stereotypes and routinely segregate girls and boys
- Isolating children from their wider community
- Failure to challenge behaviours (whether of staff, children or parents) that are not in line with the fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and belief