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Cultural capital

What is cultural capital?

Cultural capital is the store of knowledge, skills and behaviours that someone can draw upon and which shows their cultural awareness, knowledge and expertise. It is one of the key ingredients a person will use to be successful in society, their career and the world of work.

To build someone's cultural capital, they need a wide variety of experiences which allow them to acquire subject-specific knowledge so that they know about details related to their own culture and can talk about their values and merits, coming to their own conclusions, and expressing opinions and preferences fed by this store of knowledge, skills and behaviours.

By seeing these details used in different ways (contexts), a person becomes able to use their knowledge, skills and behaviours independently in situations they haven't encountered before.



What do we mean by 'culture'?

Culture here means the way that a particular group of people live. It includes:

  • Languages
  • Music and arts
  • Customs and traditions
  • Religions
  • Behaviour, social habits and social standards
  • Food
  • Dress
  • Architectural styles
  • Laws and morals



Examples of cultural capital being provided

The child...

  • has access to a wide range of reading material
  • is encouraged to learn a musical instrument
  • has been taken to many different places and had different experiences there
  • accesses extra support with schoolwork when needed
  • can cook a range of foods
  • shops with a parent and handles the money and shopping list
  • goes to a variety of after-school clubs
  • listens to music from different genres and time periods
  • holds 'screen time' in balance with a range of other activities and hobbies
  • has a range of positive and diverse role models
  • looks after their own finances and understands 'delayed gratification' and saving up for better things
  • is taught to be open minded
  • can ride a bike
  • has a bedtime story
  • is actively encouraged to be creative in many different ways
  • is actively encouraged to be resilient, independent, collaborative, and reflective
  • is actively encouraged to endure, engage, and challenge themselves in the right way