The Social Pedagogy Momentum project Bulletin
Momentum Bulletin


Welcome to the seventh issue of Momentum Bulletin. Since the last issue, Hackney held an Open Space event. I found the day useful in terms of meeting members of staff for the first time and looking at how we can improve supervision and support for foster carers and the children we look after.

We also discussed how to make sure everyone is up to speed on the Social Pedagogic approach including new foster carers and members of staff. You can read all about it in this issue.

I also attended an action learning set where we talked about how to integrate the principles of Social Pedagogy throughout children's services and beyond - no mean feat.

We agreed that it should not be seen as a quick fix solution for crises but needs to be an approach to bringing up children and developing relationships that can be adopted in the home, throughout the department and to the level of policy making.

I am sitting on the Department for Education’s Improving Permanence for looked after children expert group, so hopefully, I can have some influence at the policy level. 

This issue also features an interesting video from Capstone, with foster carers talking about the difference Social Pedagogy has made to their lives. Jutta also writes about the impact of the scrapbooking events and we look at parenting styles.

This newsletter is a forum for us all to share ideas about Social Pedagogy, feedback on training, book reviews, events, activities etc. Please pass it on to anyone who may be interested and send in any contributions you would like to make by 1st of July. You can also join our Facebook group.

Social Pedagogy concepts

What is your parenting style?

Baumrind (1991) defined four parenting styles:

  • Authoritarian
  • Authoritative
  • Permissive
  • Disengaged
He says that all four may be appropriate depending on circumstances but the most effective one from a Social Pedagogic approach is authoritative.

Authoritarian style involves a low level of affection combined with a high level of control. It may be appropriate to limit problem behaviour, particularly if something is dangerous but can have a negative impact on the relationship. It uses punishments and rewards to manage behaviour.

A social pedagogue would favour using 'natural consequences' for behaviour and celebrating good behaviour rather than using rewards. Recent research (Talwar and Lee, 2012) has shown that a punitive environment encourages dishonesty.

Authoritative style involves lots of warmth and affection while ensuring boundaries are firm, to enable children to learn to act responsibly in a loving environment. This must be based on an ethical stance and effective communication, which includes listening attentively to children.

Permissive style is a high level of affection combined with a laissez faire approach to boundaries. This may be appropriate if children have come from a very controlling environment but it needs to be carefully negotiated as helping children adapt to society's norms is an important part of foster care.

Disengaged style involves a lack of care or affection as well as control. This may be appropriate if we want to ignore certain behaviour, if a child thinks that all attention is good attention but it must be used judiciously.

Evidence suggests that high levels of affection combined with low psychological control leads to a decline in children's and adolescents' problematic behaviour and a positive sense of self.

Adapted from an article in the HHH programme reference tool.

Photo credit: © Alain Lacroix |

Inspirational words

H.H. Dreiske, German poet and social worker

"One should teach children to dance on a tightrope without a safety net, to sleep at night alone under the sky, to row a boat on the open sea. One should teach them to imagine castles in the sky instead of houses on the ground, to be nowhere at home but in life itself and to find security within themselves."

Photo credit: Castles in the Sky © Albund |


Dates for your diary

Action Learning Sets will be an opportunity to discuss how you are implementing Social Pedagogy in your everyday practice. Each session will have a theme such as communication, personal values and opportunities in challenging situations.

Day Option from 10am -1pm at the Annexe, Queensbridge Road, Hackney
26th June
25th September
30th October
27th November

Evening Option from 6 - 8.45pm at the Annexe
24th June
30th September
28th October
25th November
To apply just contact Safeguard and Learning directly on 02083564141 or email

Open Space Event

By Martin Stender

When the Head, Heart, Hands core training on Social Pedagogy came to an end in April this year the obvious question occurred: How can we keep the momentum going and how can we now start to implement a Social Pedagogy approach within fostering services and continue the journey with foster carers and members of staff?

Organising an open space event including foster carers, members of staff and senior management was the obvious answer. The main objective was to develop practical ideas and related actions to implement Head, Heart, Hands within Hackney Fostering Service.

The anticipated outcome would be an improved understanding of and commitment to a Social Pedagogic approach to foster care among service managers and wider staff.

The aim was to have a strategy and clear accountabilities for the development of the Social Pedagogic approach within Hackney.

In May 2014, a large group, consisting of foster carers, social workers, independent reviewing officers, looked after children nurses, service managers as well as senior managers came together for the first open space event in Hackney.

It was a great pleasure to see people engaging, networking, sharing view points and experience with each other, aiming to improve outcomes for looked after children and young people.

At the end of the day we had a great number of action points in place and an amazing number of people who put themselves forward to take ownership of certain initiatives.

We, the social pedagogues, will now follow up on these outcomes and make sure there will be progress, e.g. setting up a support group in order to increase the network, organising social events for the whole family and looking into options for further training.

I am particularly happy with the positive and constructive ideas that people expressed during the day, and I am confident that we will all work together towards a joint understanding of Social Pedagogy in foster care practice.

Video from Capstone

We would like to share the little video which has been created by one of our Capstone momentum groups in collaboration with students from Bridgewater college.

The video aims to share some impressions from the journey we are on.

Caroline de Francesca, supervising social worker at Capstone, has been the visionary of this momentum group project and acquired the resources for it. Her enthusiasm and commitment took our group into the learning zone of making this film together.

Lots of Social Pedagogy models where put into practice in the exciting process for which you can see the end result.

Martina Elter, Social Pedagogue, Capstone Foster Care (South West) Ltd


A good read

This book helps you to think about how you operate as a family, helping you to develop a mission or what Covey calls a flight plan. He acknowledges that it might be hard to stick to but at least if you know what you are trying to achieve, you can revert back to your plan if you go off course.

One of the seven habits is to become proactive, deciding that you can change yourself and your reactions rather than battling to change others. Covey says we all have the freedom to choose our reactions and that often it is a good idea to mentally press the pause button before you react and choose your response to a situation.

To see whether you are inclined towards being proactive or reactive, Covey advises looking at the language you use and seeing if it is blaming, accusing or constructive. For example, "The kids are driving me crazy!" or "I can help create rules in our family to teach kids about the consequences of their behaviour."

The book looks at how to work together as a family to create win-win situations and offers some useful exercises. Another tenet of the book is to seek to understand other people's perspectives. The book overlaps with quite a few Social Pedagogic models such as Hermeneutics, non-violent communication and common third.

You can order it here

Can anyone else recommend a good book? Please email any reviews or recommendations.

Scrapbooking events

On two afternoons during the recent half-term break, 14 young people and 11 adults came together for scrap-booking events in Hackney.

The events were open for whole foster families and created a shared creative experience for foster carers, all their children and young people, some relatives/family friends and Social Pedagogues.

Participants could choose to work on their individual pages or they could contribute to joint pages with others. Over the course of the afternoon we reflected on our experiences and shared our understanding of Social Pedagogy since the core courses finished in April.

A variety of creative materials and techniques were used to collect the individual Social Pedagogy stories and experiences into one shared scrapbook.

One foster carer shared that she was not quite sure what to expect and came to the event with a level of apprehension. When it was time to tidy up she was still engrossed in giving her page the final touches and she stated that she enjoyed the afternoon very much

The aim is to hold scrap-booking events regularly until the end of the HHH Programme to collect and showcase Hackney’s HHH stories on Social Pedagogy and create a shared experience for all who are or who would like to be part of Hackney’s Social Pedagogy journey.

Join us on social media

Join our Facebook Page - in the last month we have had discussions about books, events, articles and feedback on training sessions.

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I am happy to follow you if you post tweets about Social Pedagogy or related subjects.

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Deadline for next issue

Please send in any copy for the next issue by 1 July.