A great example of the common third

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Surrey has been organising outdoor days for foster families and social work staff over the last year. These activity days provide a good day out and a way of “growing together” through a common third activity.

Social pedagogue Rute says: “These activity days shift the focus from a child’s behaviour or disagreements between carers and social workers, and focuses on the activity in hand.”

She explains that the common third activity helps strengthen relationships, as the participants have to trust and communicate with each other to achieve a goal. It gives everyone an opportunity to explore their own boundaries and test their limits, promoting self-confidence and developing new skills.

Two foster carers gave their feedback:

I think it is really useful for the children to see me learning alongside them, to realise that I am not always good at things. As well as the activity I really find the shared lunch useful. It is a good chance for carers and young people to talk informally.

My favourite moment was building the outdoor shelter - not because our shelter was in any way weatherproof (it wasn't!) but because we had to work together as equals in the task, agree our design and implement it, all in a short space of time. This was a good bonding moment for us as a foster family team.