The true mark of successful parenting is seeing our children grow up to be the best version of themselves. A recent study comparing the current status of 144 adults with their daily performance as children 40 years ago indicates that the traits children embody at the age of six or seven — such as verbal fluency, adaptability, confidence and emotional sensitivity — will influence their behaviours as adults.
This is why Early Years education is so important. As a child’s self-awareness develops, they must be guided by positive external values that will empower them to form their own.
The Five Huili Values of Courage, Respect, Integrity, Kindness and Responsibility reinforce the seven areas of learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
The area of ‘personal, social and emotional development’ is especially important because it is integrated into all aspects of a child’s learning. It encourages them to express themselves confidently, take responsibility and practise critical thinking.
Creating an immersive environment
Values are abstract, but one can see them being put into action in every aspect of nursery life at Huili. This is because we teach them through example rather than explanation. Visual prompts are often more effective teaching tools than spoken words. We therefore decorate the nursery with images depicting the Huili Values.
▲Value stamp album and wall sticker at Huili Nursery
One can see works of art by our children everywhere in the nursery. They are accompanied by notes in Chinese and English to convey their ideas about our values.
Children are encouraged to explore a particular theme and build the Courage to share their views with their Chinese- and English-speaking teachers. This teaches them to think about our values from several different perspectives relevant to their own experiences.
Playtime presents a perfect opportunity to practise Responsibility. When playtime ends, our pupils work together as they tidy up the play area. Our teachers underscore this point by commenting, “You are all very Responsible. Thank you for looking after our learning environment.”
Our teachers also employ positive reinforcement. Whenever our children act in a way that reflects the Huili Values, they are rewarded with special ‘values stickers’ to recognise and celebrate their actions.
But cultivating values is a full-time job. It does not end once our pupils leave the nursery to return home. Therefore, our parents play an equally important role. When parents demonstrate values-based behaviours at the nursery, they too are rewarded with ‘values stickers’.
This inspires in our pupils a sense of pride, of course, but it also encourages our parents to lead by example. Huili parents also set a good example through volunteering for our many charity activities.
Guided by positive values, our children will naturally form their own sense of right and wrong. Courage, Respect, Integrity, Kindness and Responsibility become instinctive behaviours.
They may be compelled to teach their parents about these values or even let them know if they think they are not living up to them! And having the Courage to be their best selves and to encourage other to do the same is the most important outcome at Huili Nursery Shanghai.