This blog is the opening the Lost words of Residential Child Care project
The words that are used matter.
They define our identity and meaning.
They determine our practice.
Residential child care has a rich vocabulary for its work that has been developed through experience. It encompasses many other disciplines, for example social work and psychology, yet it is a distinct and detailed professional language. It provides focus and a means of sharing important information quickly as terms incorporate many different aspects.
The residential child care vocabulary is an achievement. It needs to be celebrated.
However it is under threat.
The threat is not sudden and overwhelming but slow, almost imperceptible.
It happens by decisions being taken outside of residential child care that determine its work.
It happens by terminology being changed – or lost.
In doing so we internalise a way of looking at the world which is not the way we feel we are being in the world. Losing words truncates the thinking about children and our work. It fragments experiences. It removes knowledge and by doing so removes continuity.
The author Robert McFarlane writes about lost words. He sees a ‘great thinning’, a disappearance of language that, in RCC, makes the diversity of settings and practices endangered.
NCERCC has a concern about RCC becoming solely short term and interventionist, in this way we lose its diversity of response to need. In accommodating this view we are observing the reduction in vocabulary
McFarlane encourages us to ‘Seek, find, speak, create, respond.’
He was one of the people who set up the Lost words/Spell songs project The Lost Words. The book began as a response to the removal of everyday nature words – among them “acorn”, “bluebell”, “kingfisher” and “wren” – from a widely used children’s dictionary, because those words were not being used enough by children to merit inclusion. But The Lost Words then grew to become a much broader protest at the loss of the natural world around us, as well as a celebration of the creatures and plants with which we share our lives, in all their wonderful, characterful glory.”
What are the words you see as thinning? Seek, find, speak, create, respond.
If you write it NCERCC will post it and circulate it.
NCERCC has made a start with the lost word of Recovery in which we explore it and consider the implications/consequences of its loss.
We have plans for others