Costaño implements Restorative Justice (RJ) practices in order to ensure a safe and nurturing space for children to learn. RJ practices, in combination with PBIS, shifts the focus on supporting student misconduct from punishing a child to increasing achild's understanding that they belong to a community that they have a responsibility to keep free from harm and to repair harm in the event of damage. Key components of RJ is understanding who has been harmed by a behavior, how the harm will be repaired, and ensuring that all who have been harmed are engaged in the process.
Restorative Justice Practices shifts the focus on supporting behaviors from punishing to increasing a child’s understanding that they belong to a community that they have a responsibility to keep free from harm and to repair harm in the event that damage is created.
There are two primary practices used in Restorative Justice -- Restorative Circles and Restorative Conversations.
Restorative Circles are used to build community and relationships between children and between the teacher and the children. A key component of Restorative Justice practices is helping children understand that they belong to a community and that the community is there to support and love them. Through Restorative Circles, teachers let children know that their teacher values building relationships in the classroom because time is set aside to specifically build relationships.
Oftentimes, Restorative Circles are simply, but importantly, community builders that begin with a question posed by the teacher or a classmate. At times, Restorative Circles can be used to solve classwide problems.
Teachers are expected to hold Restorative Circles with classes daily because we are a school that understands that relationship building is key to helping our children feel safe and empowered to be in school