Creating your culture

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First, watch the fabulous video

What is it?

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Second, read the article

Classroom Culture (which applies to both nursery and home settings too) simply means all of the different things which impact on what you can provide. Understanding your culture helps you to understand why some ideas you see on the internet work well for you but others don't. There are headings below which help you to understand a little bit more about culture.

Go deeper please:

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This is the slide from my 'Purposeful Provision' training where I go into more depths with staff about how they are able to define their culture. Once defined, you can begin to understand why somethings work for you and others things don't. Use the gallery below to find out more about each section. 

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Scroll through and click to read about each aspect

Defining my culture and why it matters

I work in a 1 form school in the centre of Bradford. This community is one of the most deprived communities in the country and therefore it can be very difficult for our families to provide what many other families would see as essential. My children come to me with English as an Additional Language, many display some kind of SEN (even if this is just Speech and Language difficulties) and often display very few interests of their own so our planning straddles an 'in the moment' model and a topical approach. They have not been to previous settings so some of the resources are very unusual to them and we have to model how to play. 

Our parents and families are almost always 100% supportive. Our community is made up with many from a faith where the teacher acts as the third parent and so respect for us as teachers is very high. They understand that we want the best for their children and so support us in that. That being said, engagement in events isn't as high as we would like but this taps into lack of confidence in some parents. All of my families are 'traditional' (no judgement here!) families where mum is at home whilst dad or another grown up is at work. We rarely see fathers. 

Me and my EYP are highly dedicated, well trained and fully versed in what we should be providing for our children. We believe in using an open-ended approach where ever possible. My EYP comes from the community that we serve and she is able to speak in the home language of many of my children. Our interests shine through and so gardening and baking are very high on the agenda and these rub off onto our children.

Our school did not fare very well in last year's reading SATS and so our leadership team have elevated reading to the top of the agenda. This means that throughout school, reading is seen everywhere and each year group takes this on in different ways. Whilst reading is not a prime area nor a focus for us, we are pragmatic and understand that we need to promote this as much as possible. (That being said our Leadership team understand that for us CL is a gateway to reading). 

We are lucky to work in a school which is relatively new and purpose built so the room generally lends itself to nursery life well. I have painted over many display boards as they were unnecessary so my room looks a little 'bare' but it is highly effective at drawing attention to the resources rather than the walls. 

Ok, your turn!

I'd like you to now take a scrap of paper and write down your own culture using the headings above. Once you've done that, compare your culture to my culture. How do they differ? 

Knowing your culture allows you to look at ideas that you see on social media with a lens. You can look at something and realise that it wouldn't work within your setting and know why. It also allows you to adapt things to suit your learners where possible. 

Where possible match resources, activities and experiences to the culture of your children. But remember to think about cultural capital (i.e. the things that your children don't have that they should have)