Informal support & social cohesion
Wherever parents and children get together, things can happen. There are many different forms of social encounter, little moments of exchange.
These forms of encounter not only strengthen social cohesion, it is also considered as very supporting for many parents to be able to talk to others about everyday issues in raising children. Getting in touch with parents who have children of the same age is often a valuable source of information and support. This kind of small social support can grow into relations in which mutual dialogue, a sense of connectedness and solidarity can thrive.
Equally such informal contacts are also important for children. The possibility to engage with others in meaningful relations – other children and other adults, apart from their own family – has an impact on their general development. By meeting others, children get a chance to explore and expand a whole range of relations.
Places for social support and social cohesion
Meeting and engaging with other people is important. Centres for Parents and Children, Family Centres, childcare and (pre-primary) schools can become places that invest in informal encounters. Places where social support among families can grow, places that can build and strengthen social cohesion in the neighbourhood. But fostering and stimulating such encounters requires real work. Together with partners on the field, VBJK develops scientific knowledge on this, as well as pedagogical models of practice. This knowhow is shared with all kinds of ECEC services of Early Childhood Education and Care and shared with policymaking that is willing to invest in informal social support.