Before the start of the school year a group of 25 + teachers, support staff and students were trained in using Restorative Practices. This group made a commitment to begin supporting the use of Restorative Practices in not only our planning rooms as part of our discipline system, but as part of what happens in the classrooms on a regular basis. These practices help to build community and can help to set things right when something happens that negatively affects the learning environment. Teachers have made a commitment to using restorative circles in our classrooms. Through one of our new focus groups, we will continue to support each other, reflect on this strategy in our middle school and continue to build community around this very important shift in thinking.
When people come together for restorative interactions they sit in circles. Circle conversation, led by the facilitator, is a fundamental element of the process. Classroom circles support the two main goals of restorative practices: building community; and responding to harms through conversations that set things right. I was very glad to be invited to a 5th grade classroom to be a part of their circle. I was so impressed with the respect that each student showed for their classmates and with their conversation.
They all felt that it was a good experience.