Children living at the Shaping Futures home in Staffordshire and some fostered children came together with their residential workers and carers to jointly “hunt for a diamond” at an outdoor activity centre. Julie Seifert, student social pedagogue, reports on the day.
As we all got together the story weavers started telling the tale of two parallel worlds shut off from each other through the boisterous and curious quests of a teenage boy and a teenage troll, trying to enter each other’s world. Inspiration, fantasy and creativity, we were told, were in danger and only the successful hunt for a diamond would stop us from endless boredom.
This story made some of the teenagers giggle from embarrassment. They found the story silly. Nevertheless, divided into different groups, we went on to our hunt for a diamond.
It didn’t take long before the initial reservations become a thing of the past. Our team spirit made us all feel capable of just about anything and allowed us to challenge ourselves, without feeling embarrassed.
My favourite moments:
When one of the boys guided everyone through a difficult bit of the caving route. The same boy who had questioned the point of having a “children’s” story and had appeared lacklustre just half an hour before, now managed to make everyone feel safe.
When a foster carer, who had persuaded her daughter to jump off a six-metre tower, also strapped herself into a harness because she had decided that “if my daughter overcomes her fear and does it, then so will I”.
These moments united everyone by taking us out of our comfort zones, giving us all the opportunity to learn new skills together and sharing each other’s strengths and fears.
All in all it was a happy, inspiring, encouraging and empowering day.
As for the diamonds, well we all often forget to see the sparkling, precious parts within ourselves and others, even though they are always there. On the activity day we were definitely all shining bright, together and individually.
The Diamond Model
Although one of the properties of a diamond is how hard it is, Eichsteller and Holthoff’s diamond model relates to its property of intrinsic value. The model symbolises one of the most fundamental underpinning principles of social pedagogy – that there is a diamond within all of us. As human beings we are all precious and have a rich variety of knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes. Not all diamonds are polished and sparkly, but all have the potential to be. Similarly, every person has the potential to shine out – and social pedagogy is about supporting them in this. Therefore, social pedagogy has four core aims that are closely linked: well-being and happiness, holistic learning, relationship, and empowerment, and these are all linked through creating and developing positive experiences.