We know that trying to (or even thinking about trying to) bring restorative practices into your school can feel overwhelming, to say the least. So to reignite your inspiration, here are some shining examples of schools who are succeeding at implementing restorative practices principles in creative ways.
1) Educating Hearts -- Love is More Important Than Knowledge
Our friends as Edutopia share a moving example of educating hearts, not just minds. At 3:45 you'll notice how one school is actually training fifth graders to be "Peace Helpers" and facilitate conflict resolution circles and lessons themselves instead of relying on an adult facilitator. Such a great example of moving beyond the "authoritarian" mode and empowering the children to be the experts.
2) Teaching Real-World Problem Solving Through Innovative Projects
What if we could build a school and classroom culture where problems were viewed as opportunities? This Oakland classroom is finding creative ways to do just that through an innovative agriculture project. Notice how engaged the students are and how they're collaborating together to come up with a solution.
3) Empowering Teachers to Lead Morning Circle "Family-Time"
Check out how morning circle meetings are creating a sense of family and allowing kids (and teachers) to take on greater leadership roles at this school in Maine, USA. These guys are even doing morning yoga in their circles to create a relaxed climate and teach body intelligence! At 4:56, the principal's advice for school leaders says it all:
"Once you have a culture where staff are committed to kids, it spreads like wildfire. I'm smart enough to know that as a leader of my school, I'm not the expert. My teachers are the experts. A key mindset is for leaders in schools to feel empowered to give their teachers the license to do these kinds of things."
4) Practicing the "Mushy Stuff" -- Cultivating a Culture of Caring
How do you teach kids to genuinely care for one another? This precious video might give us some clues. CARE for Kids program in Kentucky creates a culture where kids feel safe by nurturing heartfelt relationships with not just the staff but amongst the students themselves. Talk about moving beyond the problem-corrective model to a truly peaceful community...! If you're like me, you may wish to grab some Kleenex because Security Monitor, Richard Little's, description at the very end is a tear-jerker.
What are some of your favorite examples of restorative practices being used in schools?
Let us know in the comments section below so we can feature your links in our Restorative Community Library of resources. We'd love for you to collaborate on this project with us. (You can read more about the library we're building here).
Hope these videos gave you a little dose of inspiration. If so please share with any teachers, administrators, or change-agents you think may benefit so we can all transform our schools and classrooms.
Have a great weekend,
Amos Clifford, Guide and Restorative Council Mentor; trainer in restorative justice, restorative dialogue with nature, and circle-keeping and the way of council; mentor.