The Social Pedagogy Momentum project Bulletin
Momentum Bulletin

Welcome

Welcome to the fourth issue of Momentum Bulletin. This newsletter is circulated monthly by email to foster carers, social workers and trainers who choose to subscribe for free. Please pass it on to anyone who may be interested. You can also join our Facebook group.

It is a forum for us all to share ideas about social pedagogy, feedback on training, book reviews, recipes, activities etc.

It has been sparked off by a group on the social pedagogy training course in Hackney, London, but it is open to everyone. We hope it will help to keep up the momentum between training and beyond!


Social Pedagogy concepts

Haltung roughly translates as ethos, stance, mindset or attitude. It is how we guide our actions through our philosophy of life.

What do we believe in, what do we think is important, what do we want to pass on to the children we are looking after? Another way of describing it is your set of values or moral compass.


It affects our interations with others and our relationships with them. Eichsteller (2010) says Haltung shines through in our relationships with others, which in turn colours their behaviour towards us.

When we knew we were going to foster, I asked friends and family about their philosophy on life and what values they would want to pass on to children. What are your thoughts on this?


Inspirational words

"Every child needs at least one person who is really crazy about him or her."

Bronfenbrenner (The fracturing of the American family. Washington University Daily, October 5, 1977, Pg. 5 (Summary of a lecture). New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1970.)

Please email any other quotes you want to share from a Social Pedagogue or key thinker.

Dates for your diary

 

The following dates are confirmed:
 
4th March from 10am to 12pm at Annexe, Tomlinson Centre, Hackney

The room is booked from 9:30am - 1:30pm. The main get-together for carers will be 10-12 but there is time and space for smaller groups to meet to discuss their presentations for the next training session.

9th May from 10am to 4pm at the Tomlinson Centre, Hackney

The Open Space Event to discuss the future of Social Pedagogy in Hackney - all welcome.
 

Activities

There is a Youth Arts Festival throughout February called Discover Young Hackney. There are various events in the borough, showcasing dance, film, theatre and singing. Find out more here.

There are lots of events aimed at children and young people on the South Bank in London this half-term, including an exhibition of art by children who rely on the charity, Kids Company, a mass choir event and a food market. Find out more here.

Hackney Foster Carers Council (HFCC) is organising an ice skating trip on 18th February and a visit to the cinema to see  the Lego Movie on 20th February. To book a place call 07973241185. To find out more about the HFCC visit its website.
Your Feedback

The researchers at Loughborough University, who are evaluating the Head, Heart and Hands programme would like to hear from you. It is not too late to fill in the questionnaire. The social pedagogues can help you fill in the form. The researchers also want to interview people by phone or face-to-face. This is more general and covers how you feel about fostering and issues such as managing challenging behaviour.


Thoughts on Training

Having just finished the third training session, I am reflecting on how to communicate better. We talked about how messages can get distorted and how it is important to be clear and concise. We also looked at non-verbal communication and how body language and even silence is a form of communication. If in doubt, check that messages have been received in the way they were intended by asking for clarification.

The work on life space has made me think about how we can improve our house. I remember before the children moved in we created a play room but it has now become something of a dumping ground for games, toys etc and there isn't much space to move, let alone play. We should plan how to make better use of the space with the children. I would like it to become a place where they can socialise with their friends, play music and be creative - another strand of the training.

In the creativity exercise, it was frustrating not cracking the 9 dots problem the easy way. I tried folding the paper as well as using a scrap of paper to move the pen from one dot to another. It was a good lesson in thinking outside the box - there's a clue for those of you who haven't done the training.

I am looking forward to the next session when we will be consolidating our learning and discussing examples of how we have used Social Pedagogy approaches at home. Please send in any examples you want to share.
P.S. I enjoyed the singing!
 

New Social Pedagogue

Hi Everyone,
 
My name is Niina Robinson and I started working as a new Social Pedagogue alongside Jutta Weber and Martin Stender at the end of January in the Head, Heart and Hands programme. I am very excited to join the team!
 
I moved to London nine months ago. I originally come from Finland where I used to work as a Family Pedagogue in residential care units with looked after children and young people and their families.
 
Our units specialised in providing psychiatric care alongside custody care services.  We worked in multidisciplinary teams of social pedagogues, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrics, social workers, teachers and other professionals to improve the situation in children’s lives.
 
Another aspect of my job was to work with young people in care who were approaching adulthood and helping them to be empowered and prepared for independent life. It was very rewarding to see them finding their own strengths and tools and overcoming the challenging experiences of their past.
 
I have seen in practice how a Social Pedagogic approach can make a difference in people’s lives. It is a great tool to improve communication and help people to reach their full potential. It is really encouraging to hear how it has been implemented in fostering services too here in Hackney.
 
In London, I have been volunteering with a private Fostering Agency, a foodbank and with an organisation working with families living in temporary accommodation. Working in London with different groups and organisations has been a great experience and I am very excited to now be working in Hackney within the fostering services.
 
I am very much looking forward to meeting you all and learning more about your experiences in fostering and Social Pedagogy!
 


A good read


Nonviolent Communication: a language of life: create your life, your relationships, and your world in harmony with your values by Marshall Rosenberg is a thought-provoking book.

It teaches you how to observe what is going on in your communication with other people and to assess the feelings that are being communicated or aroused. Rosenberg also advises working out what your needs are or what needs might be unmet and how to achieve these needs through effective communication.

He advocates feeling empathy towards yourself as well as others, so it is about recognising your own feelings and needs as well. He says: "When we listen for feelings and needs, we no longer see people as monsters."

His message is to be clear and concise in your communication, cutting out as much emotion as possible, so that the other person can hear what you are saying without temperatures rising!

You can order it here


Social Pedagogue, Martin Stender, sent in this recommendation
'Pathways through education for young people in care'
Edited by Sonia Jackson

You can order it here
 
Can anyone else recommend a good book? Please email any reviews or recommendations.
 


Putting Social Pedagogy into practice

Manuel and Thure, social pedagogy facilitators, Jacaranda development share their thoughts on social pedagogy and risk

“I was scared of water so I had to learn how to swim”

How many different risks can you spot in that headline?

In our work, one of our greatest priorities is to make sure that the children we support and care for are safe. On the other hand, we also want them to have unique, fulfilling experiences, and to develop their own risk assessment skills in order to make appropriate and purposeful decisions in life.

Social pedagogy encourages people to learn from appropriately managed and assessed risk taking. We call this way of thinking risk competency. It is a skill that children, and often adults, have to develop through practice, observation, experience and reflection. We know that children need to learn to assess risk in order to equip them for the future.

We must consider the value of reflective and managed risk-taking in areas not laid down in policies, where the learning opportunities may outweigh the potential risk. Obviously, we should never endanger or damage a child, but we should be sensible about risk and see it on a spectrum that can vary according to different individuals’ assessments.

Social Pedagogy offers us tools and the confidence to identify, plan, and undertake learning opportunities with and for children in which the skill of risk competency can be developed. But, more than that, we know that the impact on confidence, relationships, and self-awareness are promoted when we overcome a barrier by shared experience and learning with a foster child or young person.

Do you have practice examples for situations in which a perceived risk helped a child or an adult to grow and develop personally?

Please share your experiences


Items for next issue

Please email Nicola Hill with items for the next issue by 10 March.

Do you want to respond to any of the items in this issue?

What are your thoughts on the Social Pedagogy training?

Have you read a good book about Social Pedagogy or parenting in general?

Can you contribute a favourite recipe?

Have you found any good activities to do with your children?

Please send any contributions by 10th of each month.

Social Pedagogues

They are there to help you with issues you are having with your children - just contact the virtual school and they can help you by phone or with home visits. You can also anonymously pose problems through this newsletter and we can ask a Social Pedagogue to give their feedback.