Return to Services

Training in Restorative Practices

Restorative practices awareness training

Restorative Practices is not a program, but an approach that values the development and maintaining of relationships by working with people, rather than doing things to people or for them. Restorative Practices has its roots in the teachings and practices of indigenous peoples from around the world, with specific influence from Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The idea of a community working with its people to make decisions, resolve conflict and build positive relationships is the underpinning of what restorative practices is.

What is Restorative Practices?

  • it is a way of thinking and being based on a foundation of caring, collaborative and respectful relationships.
  • it builds and strengthens healthy relationships and community.
  • it provides a supportive framework to prevent, respond to, and repair harm through a continuum of practices.

The session develops an awareness of restorative practices by embedding them into the culture and community of the Board, school and classroom. The use of Restorative Practices is maximized and more successful when staff involved at all levels of the Board understand the potential of Restorative Practices, are supportive of its utilization and can articulate its importance.

The half-day awareness session is designed to give an overview of Restorative Practices: its history, philosophy, applications and practices. Skills introduced in this session will assist anyone in a position of authority to work with others.

After this session, participants will have a greater understanding of

  • The connections between the use of Restorative Practices, student voice/student engagement, and keeping students in school (retention),
  • How Restorative Practices can build school climate and culture, and be part of a positive classroom community,
  • How the building and maintaining of relationships is the cornerstone of Restorative Practices
  • How Restorative Practices can be used to resolve and reducing conflict, including bullying, suspensions and expulsions,
  • How Restorative Practices can promote equity, inclusion, and address race issues.

Circles Training

The half day session will enhance and develop skills which will support keeping kids in schools using circles. This involves making connections and using fair process in which participants are involved with

  • Engagement and the opportunity to have a say.
  • Explanation and understanding the reasons for a decision.
  • Expectation clarity and a shared understanding of what is expected in terms of behaviours or interactions.

Circles provide participants in all roles within the board with skills that are explicitly equitable, safe, trust building, responsible and with shared ownership. Circle applications and skills will be adapted to the employment group and can include skills in areas like

  • Circle techniques like check in go arounds, non-sequential or popcorn circles and modified fishbowls
  • Staff meetings or committee meetings using circle skills
  • Problem solving circles for case management or student retention
  • Talking circles and the use of a talking piece
  • Peer mediation, peer helpers and student led circleCommunity building circles or circles to repair harm

There is opportunity for participants to practice the skills presented. Small groups use specific scenarios in to decide on the circle process that is most appropriate. The focus here is also on forming the appropriate restorative questions to lead the discussion.

“This is such a simple observation, but one that has profound implications for schools. Some students who don’t feel safe will end up in the office because they got into a fight. Some will elect to flee and start skipping classes or whole days. And some will just freeze. They are in the seat, but due to fear, no information goes to the prefrontal cortex, and there is no “conscious thought” or learning. Cultivating a sense of safety is important not only for an orderly school but for learning itself… In its profound simplicity and deep complexity, the circle process provides the means for everyone to belong and to be significant under any circumstance…The circle, for a while, flattens the hierarchy between cliques and cliques, between adults and students, and between the book-learned educator and the experience-learned parent. Everyone has a place.” (The power of the circle) Nancy Riestenberg, School Climate Specialist, Minnesota Department of Education in the foreword to Circle Forward: building a restorative school community by Carolyn Boyes-Watson and Kay Pranis

Support, Coaching and Online Extended Training

Regular and on-going video conference support for trained groups to embed skills, knowledge, attitudes and aspirations into daily school practices and policies.