Cultural Capital

Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework uses the term ‘Cultural Capital’ to describe the kind of knowledge that children should have access to in an early year’s setting, in order to be socially mobile and play their part in society’. The definition of ‘cultural capital’ in the new Early Years handbook (Ofsted, 2019) is ‘the essential knowledge that children need to be educated citizens.’ and ‘ensure that children experience the awe and wonder of the world in which they live, through the seven areas of learning’

Cultural Capital is about giving children the best possible start to their early education and preparing children with the knowledge and skills for what comes next and the skills for success in their life. This is so important in early years because what children learn in those vital first years of life will stay with them forever.

Some ways of demonstrating cultural capital helping children to:

  • Learn new words and their meaning – through stories and knowledgeable practitioners building on children’s interests and ideas
  • Look at many different types of books including fiction and non-fiction
  • Hear and participate in a wide variety of rhymes, poems and stories
  • Have fun with words such as thinking of different rhyming words
  • Express and test their thoughts and ideas in different ways such as simple experiments, building structures, painting, modelling
  • Dance and act out stories