What is social pedagogy?

Social Pedagogy is becoming an increasingly familiar term around children’s services

In a nutshell, in fostering, social pedagogy is focused on enabling foster carers to help children in care build positive relationships with those around them. This helps children achieve greater stability and build their self-confidence which as a result improves their long-term well-being and life chances.

Our uniqueness is in our approach and is clearly captured in our Aims, Beliefs and Values. We provide all expected requirements relating to the recruitment, assessment, initial training and approval of new foster carers that you will get with other foster agencies.

What makes us different is our Aims and beliefs, which are aligned to our early adoption of the Social Pedagogy theories (sometimes known as Head, Heart and Hands)

We have committed to providing you with access to specialised information and training in line with the latest research.

The Head, Heart and Hands

Recent research highlights the key benefits of truly understanding the experiences of children and supporting them to recognise this for themselves. We advocate our foster carers undertaking activities alongside the children so that it encourages meaningful discussion and the forming of good relationships. We believe encouraging a child in their own making of decisions, sometimes involving the taking of managed risk will support them to build their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Our approach is to understand the experiences that our children have had so that we can develop bespoke ways of working with them to support their continued growth as an individual. We provide key opportunities for foster carers to develop their understanding of how the experiences of children living in care, play out in their emotions and behaviours, so that we can fully support them by understanding their specific needs. We look at practical daily activities which will help the child and the foster carers to communicate and build their relationship. This will ensure foster carers can support the children to grow as individuals rather than encouraging them to conform to social norms, which may be at odds with their unique outlook on life as a result of their experiences.

Each of our foster carers are offered training linked to the theories of social pedagogy, when they join our agency. This ensures that our approach is holistically implemented into all of our foster families across the UK.

We believe in taking a “risk sensible” approach. We feel that a looked-after child should be able to live a full and happy life and take the everyday risks that any other child would experience. Be that climbing a tree, building a raft or skateboarding, we believe these experiences can help children to grow

We feel that, enabling children to experience managed risk builds their self-confidence and increases their ability to make better decisions for themselves, improving their ability to make good choices later in life and support their independence after leaving care.

We support our carers to undertake meaningful yet everyday activity with children to promote effective communication and to learn new skills alongside their looked after child. This creates closer bonds and supports the development of lasting and meaningful relationships. We encourage foster carers to undertake interesting and stretching activities alongside the children in their care, so that they are learning together and building strength in their relationship as a result of shared experiences.

Our whole ethos is focused on the importance of building good relationships across the whole team supporting individual children, this includes all professionals

Reflecting on what is happening with our children is a huge part of social pedagogy, taking time to think why decisions were made and the impact the decision has had on all those involved and then learning from this. We believe this honest open approach enables foster carer’s to grow in confidence and ensures their views and expertise is valued across the team.

Each of our foster carers are offered training linked to the theories of social pedagogy, when they join our agency. This ensures that our approach is holistically implemented into all of our foster families across the UK.

We share the belief that the outcomes for looked after children can be improved as a result of applying the key elements of social pedagogy. We are therefore aiming to approach things differently. We are looking for committed people who want to be new generation foster carers, willing to try new approaches and be the best they can be to meet the needs of children today.

The provision of a safe and nurturing home carefully balanced with the ability to undertake risk enables individual personal growth, and supports children to reach their full potential. As a foster carer, you will receive training and on-going support in order to equip you for the responsibility you will take for the well-being of a child placed in your care.

Key benefits of the pedagogic approach
  • Improved relationships as a result of effective communication and greater trust
  • More stable placements as disruption is reduced
  • Individualised approach to meet the needs of the child
  • Stronger sense of community and belonging

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