by Angela Mack and Noeline Young
Conflict between children is normal behavior as they learn how to cooperate with others. As parents and teachers we can help guide their social development through our patience and understanding of the process.
Increasingly, international schools across the world have begun to explore the use of restorative practice processes in lieu of traditional punitive means. Many schools have found Restorative Practice to be a more effective means of addressing school and student safety, and reframing conflict situations into a learning opportunity. At Branksome Hall Asia Restorative Practices begin in the classroom on the first day of school. Relationship building is a vital component in Restorative Practice. The philosophy places positive relationships at the core of how we interact with each other. Children have an opportunity to express their feelings to each other in the safe presence of an adult. This helps them to reflect on how hurtful words and actions affect others, and to see the situation from a perspective that is different from their own. The process also allows for children to talk about how they can change their behavior to repair the harm.
Restorative Practice provides opportunities to develop empathy and emphasizes the value of respect for one another, collective accountability and responsibility, to create a safe community.