In this chapter, a social pedagogical approach will be examined to discuss the blurred boundaries between the care and learning of children and young people and the spaces in which these activities take place. As a critical developmental psychologist I am interested in how ‘development’ may be seen as a product of the socio-cultural spaces that children and young people inhabit, rather than a universal stage-based process occurring without reference to the lived environment of the child. I am interested in how a social pedagogical approach to work with children and young people can be developed in the UK, (see, for example, Making Space, 2006). In this chapter I introduce the theoretical issues underpinning social pedagogy (and some of its antecedents) and discuss how these can be developed in practice. A key issue arising from a social pedagogical approach is the notion that care and learning are fundamentally linked in the lives of children and young people and are integral both to a child’s development and to work with children and young people. The blurring of boundaries between home and school, care and learning are discussed with regard to its implications for practice. I am also interested in the many meanings which ‘care’ as an activity can have. Working with children, young people and families involves provision of ‘care’ which is articulated through policy into practice. However, care is also a process of social relationships and attachments in which ‘care’ is the product of relationships and is experienced as emotional, practical and relational bonds. The developments described throughout this chapter draw on both elements of care to produce effective and meaningful ways of working with children, young people and families.
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