Last updated 22/03/2023

Did you know that in order to protect everyone from ‘religious radicals’ it is now one of your many responsibilities as a childminder to teach ‘fundamental British values’ to the children you care for? According to the government, in the early years this will mean ensuring that small children are “learning right from wrong, learning to take turns and share and challenging negative attitudes and stereotypes.”

When I first read that I can’t pretend I wasn’t somewhat disappointed. I mean, is that the best that the government could come up with in terms of what it means to have British values? Therefore I have decided that it’s time someone improved on the government’s list. If we want our children to grow into good British citizens then here are the top ten things we really need to be teaching our pre-schoolers:

1. Learn to talk about the weather

weather poster for childminders

All British people need to be able to hold at least a two minute conversation about the weather. This is essential for managing school runs, shopping and passing strangers on the street. Ideally you should be able to talk for considerably longer on the subject and share short weather-related anecdotes. Childminders can help small children by teaching them the appropriate vocabulary they will need to join in weather conversations and by keeping a weather chart up in your setting to inspire interest in the subject from an early age.

2. Learn to love drinking tea

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All Brits must enjoy drinking ridiculous quantities of tea. You can help by ensuring that the children watch you drink at least three cups of tea each day, more when socialising with others. An important coming of age ritual in British society is to learn to make tea in a proper tea pot and, when entertaining, to pour it into the cup in the correct order (ie. milk first). Children love pouring things and it’s great for their hand eye coordination, so a plastic tea pot is an excellent addition to any water play area, setting them on the right route to tea loving for life!

3. Learn to apologise properly

British people are always apologising, even if it isn’t your fault. For example if another childminder bumps into you, or rams you with their push chair, it is considered perfectly normal for you to mutter ‘sorry’ to them. Hold practice sessions during soft play where you encourage the children to bump into each other and everyone saying ‘sorry’ so that they will learn how to master this skill.

4. Learn about the royal family


All British adults must have an opinion about the royal family. Whether we think they’re great – great for tourism, charity work, national identity and the occasional extra holiday, or whether we think they have no place in modern Britain, we can’t have an opinion about something we know nothing about. Therefore it is essential to help small children to learn about the royal family, even if it’s just to learn the name and job title of the old man whose head is on all the stamps and coins in your post office set.

5. Learn to appreciate stately country homes and gardens

British people love the Downton Abbeys of our countryside. Dotted amid our green and pleasant land they remind us to be proud of our history and heritage. Go for splendid picnics in the countryside, throw pennies in fountains, walk among the daffodils while teaching the children to sing Jerusalem, and don’t forget an umbrella (so you can practice complaining about British picnic weather)!

6. Learn to enjoy fish and chips

Don’t take them to McDonalds. When you’re having a day off of healthy eating, show childminded children how British people do junk food by buying fish and chips for lunch. It is an essential part of the experience to eat them in the park straight from the paper, ideally while stabbing them with a little wooden chip fork.

7. Learn how to be ridiculously polite, especially at the table

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We all know that it’s essential to teach children to say please and thank you but why stop there? All British people are ridiculously polite, so make sure to teach small children how to hold doors, how to smile and say ‘good morning’ to people you pass on the school run and how to sound sincere when offering the last biscuit to another child. Good table manners are vital. Smearing your face in yogurt and throwing food you don’t like onto the floor is generally considered unacceptable in Britain after the age of one. As childminders we can help by teaching children how to use a spoon, fork, knife and how to pass plates of vegetables (and port decanters) in the right direction around the dinner table and without dropping them in our neighbours laps.

8. Learn to enjoy reality TV shows

All British adults need to make time each week to watch reality TV shows so that they can continue to make conversation with others after the weather topic is exhausted. It is essential to stay as up to date as possible on Big Brother, the X-Factor, the Apprentice and of course Strictly although some British men substitute the week’s football scores for one of these programmes. As a childminder you can help by getting the children hooked on TV from an early age and encouraging them to discuss their opinions about the day’s Octonaut’s adventures, the Pinky Ponk’s latest crash, and Mr. Tumble’s choice of handbag.

9. Learn to sing a Beatles song

There are few things more British than the Beatles and all adult Brits know the words and can sing along to at least five Beatles songs. Once they’ve mastered ‘twinkle twinkle’ and ‘wheels on the bus’ your children are ready to learn their first Beatles songs. Beatles music is best played in the car, where small children are strapped in and can’t run away when you sing. Legislation is currently being planned by the government to add Beatles lyrics to the driving theory test.

10. Teach the children to queue

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In Britain there are few things as important to our national identity as knowing how to queue. Despite what it seems to foreigners, British people are not born with this ability but must learn it. So from a very early age, childminders should teach queueing skills to youngsters. Have you ever watched what happens when somebody pushes in a queue? There have been moments where I have found myself concerned if the reckless rebel is going to make it out of the shop alive! Don’t let any of the children you look after grow up so uncivilised! Remember, that when we encourage small children to learn to form orderly queues, they are learning to uphold the very fabric that binds our nation together.

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So there you have it – ten real British Values you can teach to the children you look after. Next time know that when you are teaching the children to form a queue, to fill in that weather chart, to eat nicely, to hold doors and apologise that you are actually doing your bit to fight extremism on the home front, by upholding those values that we British hold dear.

What do you think of the government asking childminders to promote British Values?  

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28 thoughts on “10 REAL British Values All Childminders Should Teach to Children

  1. I love this. I hate the term British Values. It’s like saying French people don’t need to learn respect and manners and democracy etc. I told the Ofsted inspector as much too! What’s wrong with just teaching the children values. Now…off to plan fisb and chips and a nice cuppa for lunch, and an afternoon queue!!

    1. Thanks Sue. I totally agree. How dare we call the values we are teaching ‘british values’! As if they don’t belong to people the world over!

  2. I told an Ofsted inspector that I gave my childminded children tea to drink. (It’s very weak and only once a day). As it was part of our culture. She let it go.

  3. HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD,, being British means being all things now as we are so multi cultural, and actually no longer British as such. It was all about free education, the NHS championing the underdog, being proud of the forces. respecting the police. non of which seem to valued any more. teachers were revered (not anymore). not the rather superficial list sent out. the right to vote, the benefits system in general so no one supposedly starves here.

    being a royalist. respecting those in authority including parents. way and above what pre schoolers should be worrying about. other than being taught manners, who the royal family are. and to respect those in authority or who care for them.

    Sent from Windows Mail

  4. I loved this Kay! I agree with all you say and a more serious note, polite children who do have something to say for themselves, is so great – debating should be something that is taught to children!!!!!!! 😉

  5. I really can’t say what I actually think about the ‘British Values’ issue. We should firstly be teaching our children to be proud of their heritage and that they should not feel the need to apologise that they are in fact British. Americans fly and salute their national flag. They thank people in or those who have been in the forces for their service and they do this without being accused of being racist because they are just being patriotic. A pity us Brits can’t be patriotic any longer. So sad for our future generations. British values ???????

    1. Hi Gaynor, you makes lots of great points there. It is actually a really important issue, all this ‘British values’ thing and what it really means. When I read the government’s list, I remember thinking: don’t the French teach their children to share? How are these ‘British’ values anyway? And what you say about fears of racism for celebrating being British. Something I often notice is how easy it is for childminders to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or Chinese New Year, but how few will feel comfortable celebrating St. George’s Day for fear that makes them racist! =) Thanks for your comments. Kay x

  6. After reading this report, many of the staff in our Childcare on domestic premises setting have discussed how we feel about this.
    Our thoughts were that we are advised and told how essential it is for diversity that we provide children with multicultural experiences through play, therefore we feel that teaching children about how British we are is discriminating those from other cultures and backgrounds. So therefore should we be implementing other types of tea for example from other countries/nationalities of which children are from.

  7. Kay,

    Hahaha loved it!!

    You should be on board to advise the government!!

    Sue xx

    Sent from my iPhone


  8. the queue piece may have been tongue in cheek but I was in a large department store where a terrorist bomb exploded , the escalators were turned off – the customers and staff formed orderly lines and took their turn coming down stairs and non moving escalators and no one panicked – made me proud to be British, hope we never lose that.

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