Theories of child development social pedagogy
Friday, October 1st, 2010 by Gabriel Eichsteller and Sylvia Holthoff davidlane
‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.’ Margaret Mead
Social pedagogy has attracted a lot of interest over the last few years, with many different small and big projects emerging up and down the country. From the outset, much of this enthusiasm has been due to the fact that social pedagogy cannot be implemented by importing it from continental Europe. Instead, its implementation builds on existing good practice and connects with traditions in the UK closely related to social pedagogy. Petrie (2010) refers to social pedagogic notions by inspirational thinkers like Robert Owen, Thomas Barnardo, Emmeline Pethick and Mary Neal; Smith and Whyte (2007) describe similarities with the Scottish tradition of social work; and Eichsteller and Raper (2006) connect social pedagogy to the youth work method, to name but a few.
In this sense there is much to develop a UK tradition of social pedagogy from, some of which needs rediscovering, reclaiming or re-thinking. At the same time, there also seems to be something new and exciting about social pedagogy, as it provides an overarching and coherent framework that focuses on holistic well-being and learning, is based on a positive concept of children as ‘rich’, as competent and active agents, and offers sound theoretical concepts about the importance of developing strong, authentic relationships in order to support the inclusion of individuals into society. Many professionals can therefore identify with social pedagogy on a personal and professional level.
In order to provide a forum for professionals who are passionate about social pedagogy and want to explore it further, we created the Social Pedagogy Development Network (SPDN) in partnership with the Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU), the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care (NCERCC), Jacaranda Recruitment, and FICE-England.
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