At Lakeside, we use Restorative Practice approaches to improve behaviour in a consistent way in order to help support the children’s education. Through working restoratively, relationships are stronger and learning is more effective.
To facilitate, such a process requires the ability to:
- establish a respectful rapport with people;
- listen and respond calmly, empathically and without interruption or judgment to all sides of an issue;
- inspire a sense of safety and trust;
- encourage people to express their thoughts, feelings and needs appropriately;
- appreciate the impact of people’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs and unmet needs on their behaviours;
- encourage those involved in the problem to find their own solutions.
What is being restored?
This depends on the context and on the needs of those involved. What is being restored is often something between the people involved such as:
- Effective communication;
- Relationship, and even friendship;
- Empathy and understanding for the other’s perspective;
- Understanding the impact of one’s own behaviour on others;
- Reparation for material loss or damage.
However, something may also be restored within an individual – for example:
- A sense of security;
Overall, the process often results in the restoration of someone’s sense of belonging to a community (e.g. class, school or peer group).
When faced with a problem or upset, we help to resolve it using restorative questions:
- What happened?
- What were you thinking at the time it happened?
- What do you think now?
- Who has been affected by this and how?
- What needs to happen to put this right?
If your child has been upset or ‘hurt’ we often use RP circles which give your child the opportunity to:
- Have their say
- Ask any questions – like ‘why me?’
- Explain what they think about what has happened
- Receive an apology
- Be reassured that the behaviour will not happen again
If your child has upset someone the circle will give your child the opportunity to:
- Put things right
- Explain any misunderstandings
- Resolve any remaining resentment
- Work out how not to make the same mistake again
At Lakeside we have children who are designated RP experts. These children are highly visible at break times and lunchtimes and are trained on the Restorative Practice approach.
Equipped with an RP hat and Lanyard containing a 7 RP questions (as shown in bullet points above), the Lakeside RP experts pride themselves on offering friendly support to children who are upset or may have been treated unfairly by other children on the playground.
By inviting those involved to reflect upon playground situations that cause upset or anger, the RP team looks at how people might change their actions in order to prevent hurt feelings and to understand the impact of one’s own behaviour on others. This approach is useful in allowing the children to put themselves in other people’s shoes and ask questions on how their actions may affect them if the roles in the situations were reversed.
Through communicating in a restorative way which is calm, respectful and fair, and asking the children involved to do the same, it allows everyone to be listened to. The Lakeside RP experts would agree that the Restorative Practice approach is important to ensure that the children reach solutions to problems in school; solutions that are more inclusive and respectful of individual feelings.
Children who have been trained as RP Experts are identified as wearing an orange cap.