Cultural Capital for our children in their early years with us

The term cultural capital has been added to Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework (EIF), due to come into effect on 1 September 2019.

Ofsted has explained that the EIF is an evolution from the previous Common Inspection Framework, putting an increased focus on professional discussion between the inspector and setting staff about their educational programmes, how well it is delivered and what impact it has on children’s learning and development.

The new EIF also introduces the concept of cultural capital.

The framework states:

“Cultural capital is the essential knowledge that children need to prepare them for their future success. It is about giving children the best possible start to their early education. As part of making a judgment about the quality of education, inspectors will consider how well leaders use the curriculum to enhance the experience and opportunities available to children, particularly the most disadvantaged […]

“Some children arrive at an early years setting with different experiences from others, in their learning and play. What a setting does, through the EYFS curriculum and interactions with practitioners potentially makes all the difference to children. It is the role of the setting to help the children experience the awe and wonder of the world in which they live, through the seven areas of learning.”

The concept of cultural capital is associated with sociologist Pierre Bourdieu who used the term to explain why some children achieve better educational outcomes than others.

Bourdieu defined cultural capital as the various assets that people have including the way they speak, their level of education and their hobbies and interests. He noted that children from less advantaged backgrounds were less likely to achieve academically than their better off peers and concluded that the education system and wider society values certain aspects of cultural capital more than others. This, he believed, influenced social mobility, wellbeing and life outcomes.

Ofsted’s definition of cultural capital as “the knowledge that children need to be effective citizens” is only one part of the story. Although it has been said that, it is unlikely that Ofsted will make judgments based on the life experiences and lifestyles of the children that attend each setting.

It is reassuring to know that the early years sector can be reassured that the essence of cultural capital already lies within the EYFS.

                     At Bracebridge Heath Preschool staff recognise that all our families are different. We get to know them through; firstly, talking with our families, this includes, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Included in a child’s learning journey pack is an ‘all about me and my family’. There are sections for parents to add their child’s extended family, people who are special to me, including pets. Their interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes, two-year-old health checks, plus any concerns.

Key person’s use this information together with observations and interactive play to help them understand children. This in turn helps to inform planning inclusive activities and ‘awe and wonder’ of the world experiences, not just in our community.

Our ethos is that, learning is a journey, not a destination which come from an enriched in-door and outside learning environments which will provide challenges and to all areas of development. Staff scaffold children’s physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing whilst incorporating our British values; to equip the children’s individual development for their next step into primary school.

We do this through:

Intent- Reflecting upon (relate to EYFS sections: 1, 1.3, 1.5)

We carefully prepare our environments to take in consideration everything we know about the children in our care with:

  • The curriculum. The seven learning areas of the EYFS
  • The ‘what’ children learn
  • What we would like the children to learn
  • Children’s next steps
  • Routines

Implementation- Reflecting upon (relate to EYFS sections: 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10)

Children will usually move their learning on by themselves. The role of the adult is to complement and enhance their play, sometimes with support, through:

  • Teaching
  • The ‘how’ children will learn best
  • The characteristics of effective learning
  • The role of the adults
  • Provision and recourses
  • Experiences we provide for children
  • Attachments and relationships

The Impact- Reflecting upon (relate to EYFS 2- 2.1-2.5, 2.6-2.11)

We can observe and know the impact on the children’s learning and development from:

  • Assessment (formative & summative)
  • Engagement
  • Children’s routines
  • Children’s progress
  • Tracking for patterns and data analysis
  • The two-year progress checks