There are many benefits to utilizing restorative practices.
Circling up on a routine basis harnesses the best thinking of a group to develop its own solutions. In any group or organization, these processes enhance everyone’s sense of belonging. They develop participants’ confidence in their own ability to reach mutual understanding and develop creative solutions. They build confidence in the community’s ability to handle conflicts constructively, mitigating the effects of unwanted behavior and negotiating restitution for serious harm.
Restorative circles –
* Are intrinsically democratic, allowing all voices to be heard.
* Reinforce social skills, such as common courtesy and mutual respect.
* Develop good listening and speaking skills.
* Increase awareness of how one’s words and actions affect others.
* Provide a safe forum for strong feelings, while minimizing aggression.
* Reduce blame and resulting paralysis.
* Eliminate “elephants in the room.”
* Create protocols for restitution and repairing harm.
In a school environment, Restorative Practices –
* Promote self-regulation.
* Teach social skills.
* Develop work and career-ready attitudes.
* Minimize disruption, distraction, interpersonal friction and bullying.
* Improve relationships between and among students, teachers, staff, and administrators.
* Hold wrong-doers accountable for the effects of their actions on others.
* Help kids succeed according to standard measures, including test scores.
Restorative Justice –
* Is victim-centered.
* Reduces recidivism rates.
* Lowers economic cost of addressing criminalized behavior dramatically.
* Reduces racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
* Aids reintegration of the offender.
Maintaining a healthy community is the ultimate goal. A healthy community can –
* Raise resilient, curious, adventurous and healthy kids.
* Become more self-sufficient.
* Resolve internal conflicts in ways that are ultimately healing.
* Use the process of conflict resolution to clarify expectations.
* Weather storms both from within and from outside.
And the health and success of its children is the best barometer of a community’s strength and vibrancy.