"Whatever your cultural or ethnic background your ancestors probably sat in circle. It is a process where every individual truly becomes a better teacher and learner. Most of the rapid learning of very young children is tied to purpose and vision." -Greg Lewis- Dreaming of a New Reality
Restorative Communication in the indoor and outdoor classroom
Practice Consensus. Pass the Talking Piece. Speak from the heart and listen with the heart. Eye contact and active listening. Compassionate communication. Exercising empathy. Self-regulation/ follow the circle guidelines.
Why is it important to practice restorative communication?
The Circle is an operational symbol of inclusion, intentional communication, emergence, equality and community. The circle setting establishes respectful guidelines and expectations to create a safe relational space and place where participants can talk openly. Educators are inspired to set goals to immerse regular restorative practices in their indoor and outdoor classrooms.
Above left: Laurie hosts an Early Childhood Educator Workshop at Algonquin College (Perth Campus) to assist ECEs in the adoption of restorative communication practices in the indoor
and outdoor classroom.
Above middle: Calling a restorative communication circle as a core routine in the outdoor classroom with the Early childhood Education Program, Algonquin College- Perth Campus.
Above: Restorative circle facilitation with elementary students./ Maple Grove elementary school with Lanark County Community Justice.
Restorative Communication Objectives for Educators
i. Educators and administrators commit to collaborate to find ways to encourage their colleagues and students to identify, process and express emotions and needs with others in the restorative circle format.
ii. The circle provides a platform to assist people (students and educators) to better understand themselves, provide opportunities for social - emotional awareness, and leave the circle feeling valued, noticed and connected as a contributing member of the circle.
iii. The Restorative Communication Circle practice establishes a safe climate to turn conflict into collaboration.
iv. Educators pay attention to situational goals while collaborating with colleagues to co-create a plan of action for their classroom and school community. Educators with a shared intention to meet needs with a measurable agreement to provide continuity and follow through which promotes community culture and well being.
v. Whole School Approaches: If educators/ administration do not exercise restorative communication practices to resolve their own conflicts- students know this.
vi. Goal of Whole School Approach: Establish a Restorative Communicator Lead Teacher in every school community to ensure continuity of restorative communication practices in every classroom. Whole School commitment to a weekly check-in circle on Mondays, and weekly check-out circles on Fridays in every classroom.Time is set aside at staff meetings to practice restorative circle guidelines while debriefing in-class experiences with colleagues.