Cultural Capital…what is it?

Cultural capital at Little Hands Daycare & at home


Cultural capital is the accumulation of individual experiences that each child joins nursery with. The Early Years Alliance echos this by saying “cultural capital means that each child arrives with a number of experiences and ideas based on their own personal circumstances.”. It is our role as Early Years Educators to seek out that information and determine what additional experiences we can provide for children to further strengthen the quality of learning within a child’s early years. 


A great description of why cultural capital is important by one of our Deputy Managers, Sandie is “By offering adventures that a child has not already had will build that child’s repertoire of experiences and will in turn scaffold the child’s learning of things around them.”


The quality of a child’s cultural capital is not necessarily dependent on their economic status, geographic location or family structure. For example, children who regularly have access to a car for transport may be less aware of road safety measures, the risks and dangers posed to pedestrians. If a child is taken in their car to nursery, to grandparents, to the park and so on they may have had less experiences of walking along the pavement, stopping and waiting to cross the road. A child may have less understanding of what a pelican or zebra crossing is, how these support pedestrians and how differently they work. 

As opposed to a child who regularly walks to nursery/ the bus stop who has had more exposure and opportunity to explore road safety. Likewise, a child who regularly uses public transport will likely have a greater awareness of what a bus stop and bus station looks like or how a train moves along the track to transport people. 


The team at Little Hands dedicates lots of time to children and their families, getting to know what happens outside of nursery. Who do children spend time with? What activities do you enjoy as a family? This allows us to provide bespoke opportunities to each child based on their needs, passions and interests. Of course, each opportunity we create or support children to experience has a wide range of learning outcomes that our experienced team can harness throughout. Cultural capital is just one of the considerations present when we engage in new experiences. For example, taking children on a trip to the library allows children to experience being a pedestrian and walking the short distance to the building. Children then experience what a library might look like as well as their local area. Children can observe others using the library, their trusted adults carefully selecting and enjoying books as well as the process of borrowing books from the library; caring for them and then returning them.



Children may spend a limited amount of time with individuals of older generations due to their family structure. Little Hands provides opportunities within the local area to visit care homes and to spend time with other generations, to show respect, kindness and to enjoy being valuable members of society. 


Cultural capital covers a very wide range of experiences including what kind of language children are exposed to. For example, children living in a household with less people or with a smaller family structure may naturally observe less conversations and less opportunities to expand their understanding of communication and language (of course the opposite to this could also be true!). Little Hands is committed to providing a language rich environment for children where new and wonderful words are introduced to children on a daily basis to keep extending their vocabulary, supporting their communication and language development and ultimately providing the strongest possible foundation for further learning. Little Hands in Amblecote and Stourbridge have already received a full accreditation from Elklan Training as Communication Friendly Settings (though you may already know this as we rave about it often!). One of our team also has a Level 4 qualification from Elklan to continue disseminating knowledge of this subject to our teams as they grow or for regular refreshers. Therefore, our Bromsgrove and HoW College teams have already received introductory training to better support communication and language development and have a head start when they come to complete the accreditation for themselves. Furthermore, Little Hands is keen to communicate all of the above to a child’s first teacher…their parents! Sharing this information with families and having strong relationships for quality communication is a fantastic opportunity that we do not take for granted! 



How to promote cultural capital at home…

For starters; it’s extremely likely that you are already doing this and doing it very well! If you spend time together, talking, sharing mealtimes, exploring your local community brushing your teeth together then you are promoting cultural capital. Parents and families are incredible role models when they spend time talking with their children as you demonstrate language, conversational skills and the values that you hold. 

Sharing mealtimes is an opportunity to connect, deepen relationships, model more language and explore foods together. Visiting anywhere in your local area gives children an opportunity to better understand their local community, to feel part of society and to expand their overall experiences. 


That being said, we do of course have a list of ideas that you may want to explore alongside your children and consider the deeper, lasting impact this will have on your child’s life experiences. 


  • Garden play; exploring the outdoors, observing the natural world, considering the effects movement has on our bodies
  • Cooking/Baking; risk and challenge, mathematical language and exploration of quantities, scientific observations of materials being mixed and changed through different methods
  • Helping with cleaning and tidying; achieving a sense of pride and achievement, gaining an understanding of where things belong, developing positive habits and later in life skills
  • Activities which involve social interactions; peer on peer cooperation, conflict resolution experiences, healthy relationship role modelling
  • Story time; exposure to a wide range of familiar and new language to further strengthen and expand communication and language development
  • Well being tools, such as quiet times, yoga or breathing techniques; experiencing healthy outlets for emotions which can be practised, embedded and drawn upon throughout later life
  • Free flow activities to develop preferences and decision making; opportunities for independence, to develop curiosity and sense of self
  • Outings and trips
  • What else do you enjoy getting up to?


We love to see children and families having lots of fun, we cannot wait to see all the amazing things that you get up to, please send us lots of pictures, this gives us the opportunity to fully embed your child’s learning here at nursery and also the children love to do show and tell and look at the photos of what they have done outside of nursery.


102-104 Brettell Lane, Amblecote, West Midlands, DY8 4BS

T: 01384 441441

Nursery Manager: Lara Owen & Bev Ramsell

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little hands amblecote map

The Sunday School, 2 Chapel Street, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B60 2BQ

T: 0121 820 7119

Nursery Manager: Emma Gerrish

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Nursery Block Heart Of Worcestershire College School Drive Bromsgrove Worcestershire B60 1PQ

T: 0121 824 4697

Nursery Manager: Clare Fereday

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16-18 Hagley Road, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1PS

T: 01384 396920

Nursery Manager: Lara Owen & Lucy Brettle

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little hands Stourbridge map