What does ‘Cultural Capital’ mean to you?
When I first heard the words Cultural Capital, I went straight to google to find out more about it. Although, I had an understanding of what Cultural Capital was, I was unsure of how I was to implement this in my nursery. Being a member of many Facebook groups, this question is being asked more and more.
‘Inspectors will evaluate how well leaders ensure that the curriculum they use or create enhances the experiences and opportunities available to children, particularly the most disadvantaged. Some children arrive at an early years setting with poorer experiences than others, in their learning and play. What a setting does, through its curriculum and interactions with practitioners, potentially makes all the difference for children. It is the role of the setting to ensure that children experience the awe and wonder of the world in which they live, through the seven areas of learning.’ (p. 31 Schools Inspection handbook 2019)
What is Cultural Capital?
The term first appears in the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu in the 1960s and ‘70s to explain his research into the differences in educational achievement amongst pupils in France. He defined Cultural Capital as the knowledge, skills, values and experiences that provide advantage and help you to get ahead in life and especially in education. Cultural capital builds up over time. Bourdieu also used the term Habitus. The cultural framework for a child’s family and environment, the norms, values and ideas that are associated with your social class. Your ‘habitus’ is the place you feel most comfortable, where you have a sense of belonging. Contributions to cultural capital include the books you read, the music you listen to, whether you go to museums or art galleries, the type of after school activities you do.
Is Cultural Capital inherited?
To a certain extent Cultural Capital is inherited. The amount of Cultural Capital experienced by parents is passed on to the child. For example, reading books by a recognised author. visiting art galleries and libraries will be that child’s norm if that is what the parent experienced as a child. Parents who are from a deprived background, are less likely to have been offered extracurricular activities by their parents, therefore, they would not see the importance of enriching the minds of their children. There is a saying ‘It was alright for me, so it is alright for my children.’ We cannot say that this is a true reflection in society today as everyone is different. There will always be the parents that have learned, that providing as many varied opportunities for their children encourages
What do you need to do?
Cultural Capital is probably already embedded in your setting, you just had not realised it. Encouraging your children to say please and thank you. Teaching our little ones to respect their environment and not to jump on the sofa or rip pages out of books. Visiting the elderly who are mainly in care homes, will teach our children to show respect to the older generation. Trips to the library, listening to music, playing and turn taking.
Cultural Capital is who we are as people and it is through our experiences, morals and values, that make us who we are today!