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Restorative Practices

Restorative practice works to encourage positive relationships, to repair relationships when they have been harmed, and to build a school community based on cooperation, trust, and respect. It's about teaching expectations and pro-social behaviors through restorative communications, problem solving, making agreements, and resolving conflicts with students -- not to them or for them. 

Why take this approach?

  • It defines our learning community with a sense of belonging and the importance of relationships.
  • Conflicts happen and are opportunities to strengthen relationships when the harm is repaired.
  • It teaches problem solving, cooperation, and accountability when all voices are heard and valued.

Questions for when things go wrong …

  • What happened?
  • What were you thinking of at the time?
  • What are you thinking now?
  • How did your harm affect others? In what way?
  • What do you think you need to do to make things right?
  • What will you do differently next time?

When someone has been hurt …

  • What did you think when you realized what happened?
  • How did this incident impact you and others?
  • What has been the hardest thing for you?
  • What do you think needs to happen to make things right?


Sara Pickering,
safe schools specialist
(859) 422-0601

Seven options for schools:

  1. Affective statements
  2. Restorative questions
  3. Classroom circles
  4. Rupture-repair agreements
  5. Mediation process
  6. Conflict resolution circles
  7. Formal restorative conferences: re-entry & repairing harm

Definition: Restorative practices is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific conflict and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations in order to heal and put things as right as possible.”

-- Howard Zehr
from "The Little Book
of Restorative Justice"

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