Trillium Lakelands DSB is committed to building safe and caring school communities through the use of restorative practices. Restorative Practice seeks to foster healthy behaviours and strengthen relationships. This is best achieved when teachers, students and parents learn to engage with one another in restorative ways.
Restorative practice has two main goals.
Strengthen and build relationships. One of the structures we use to do this is classroom circles. During classroom circles students sit in a circle and an issue or topic that is relevant to everyone is introduced to be discussed. Each member of the class is given a chance to speak and present their ideas and thoughts. The classroom circle allows students to get to know each other and build relationships that lead to increased respect and empathy for each other.
Manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm as a way of building community. Restorative Practice puts a premium on Fair Process through the use of the Restorative questions to resolve conflicts. Questions include:
a. What happened?
b. What were you thinking at the time?
c. What have you thought about since?
d. Who has been affected? In what ways?
e. What do you think needs to happen to make things better?
These questions allow us to focus on the past (what happened), the present (who has been affected) and the future (what do you think needs to happen). Students are held accountable for their actions while the harm is repaired and relationships are re-established.
It is increasingly being shown that schools around the world are safer, more able to successfully address issues like bullying, and experience improved student achievement when they embrace restorative practices. The use of restorative practices has been shown to reliably reduce misbehaviour, bullying, violence and crime among students and improve the overall climate for learning.