The Social Pedagogue and Early Years - connecting head, heart and hands
The term "Social Pedagogue" has it roots in German Education but is a professional job in countries like Hungary, Belgium and Switzerland. Practitioners calling themselves "Social pedagogues" work in a variety of educational and care settings;
- early years
- community and family support
- social work
- support for people with disabilities
- care for older people.
All practitioners share the same understanding that they can make a positive difference not just for the individuals but for society as a whole if they create an environment that enhances well-being, supports learning and social inclusion through empowering positive relationships. How wonderful is that? It really makes me think that we undervalue those in our society who have a caring role.
At the heart of social pedagogy lies a belief that each person deserves to be treated with dignity and possesses unique inner richness and potential, which we can help them unfold.
To make this happen it requires meaningful and authentic interactions. These interactions recognise a person's potential, their qualities, strengths and interests. They create learning situations in which they and the people they are working with can explore and develop new skills.
This is why social pedagogy is often thought of as connecting head, heart and hands. You can read about an inspiring project about how the social pedagogue model has been applied by foster carers here.
Next week: How to be a social pedagogue: potential, power and practice.