Social Pedagogy and adult residential care

Banks, Residential Forum member, starts to get an understanding of what Social
Pedagogy might have to offer in adult social care


Social Pedagogy has been on the edge of discussions about adult
care services for a long time. Despite the examples of remarkable services and
projects with children, the theories have not made their way into the
mainstream thinking or practice about how we develop work with adults in care
homes or other settings.

That might be because Social Pedagogy is not fully understood,
which I am sure is true, but it may well be that the adult social care mainstream
has not been ready or interested in the whole person humanistic approach of Social

Whatever the reasons, may be the time is now becoming right for a
proper look at Social Pedagogy and how it might assist us in contemplating how
we support adults.  It may well assist in
rethinking support that works with communities and neighbourhoods across
generations for example or offer an ethos to a care home.  It will be of help as we consider putting
aside the institutional categories we have inherited that separate people out
from their natural support networks; just at a time when they need them the
most.  Ask: how is it that we have
allowed the demands of commissioning to create a system that places older
people in large centres often miles away from their family, friends and
familiar surroundings?  

An example of the potential of multi-generational working by St
Monica Trust was shown in the Channel 4 programme: ‘Old People’s Home For 4
Year Olds’ 
[1]. It showed how bringing together
retirement community residents and preschool children can help transform the
lives of all involved.

Social Pedagogy is essentially
concerned with well-being, learning and growth. It is underpinned by the idea
that each person has inherent potential, is valuable, resourceful and can make
a meaningful contribution to their wider community if we find routes to inclusion.
This brings with it a requirement to tackle or prevent social problems and
inequality. [2]


Social Pedagogy has an interesting approach to describing what it
is. The standards[3]
match philosophy to practice in a personally owned manner.  Actually, in the standards it is philosophy
and ‘Haltung’ which roughly translates as ethos, mind-set or attitude. But,
‘Haltung’ is more about how actions are guided by what individuals believe
in. [4]

Social Pedagogic principles and practices might be summarised as:

Centred in relationships with individuals and their networks.

Focused on wellbeing and holistic learning (throughout

Empowering individuals within a human rights framework

Often using joint activities – arts, craft, cooking,
environmental – as a part of establishing and growing relationships.

Strong emphasis on reflective practice integrated into individual
and organisational growth and development

Two further steps

At the recent launch of the Social Pedagogy Professional
Association (SPPA) a special interest group for association members was
established to develop thinking about Social Pedagogy and older people. This is
organised by
He will be glad to have updates on


Social Pedagogic thinking and practice are part of the way the
Residential Forum is developing the ‘Neighbourhood
planning for care and support’ project. This will be developing ways for
communities to develop local plans for care and support services.  As that project progresses we are hoping to
be able to work closely with Gabriel Eichsteller and Andy Carter of
ThemPra. This will then be reported in future blogs.





Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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