Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices at Farnsworth

As you may know, Farnsworth School was nominated by our Network to participate in the Restorative Practice Leadership Schools Cohort because of our dedication and commitment to the implementation of Restorative Practices here at Farnsworth.

We will be sharing information on restorative mindsets and practices with you in our newsletters.

Restorative Practice brings persons harmed and the person who harmed them, along with affected members, together in dialogue that aims to build understanding, explore how the harm has impacted those involved, including the community in the class and school, and develop agreements for what will be done to make things right. The result: truly meaningful justice for all involved.


Why Restorative Practice? Consider this...

"If a child doesn't know how to read, we teach

If a child doesn't know how to swim, we teach

If a child doesn't know how to multiply, we teach

If a child doesn't know how to drive, we teach

If a child doesn't know how to behave, we...

Teach? or punish??"


Too often we forget that discipline really means to teach, not to punish. A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioral consequences.- Dr. Dan Siegel, The Whole-Brain Child.

We strive to use restorative questioning when speaking to students. Here are some questions you can use when talking to your children at home.


When a child exhibits a challenging behavior:

*What happened? (Instead of ‘What did you do?”)

*What were you thinking of at the time? (Instead of ‘Why did you do that?”)

*Who has been affected by what you have done?

*In what way have they been affected?

*What do you think you need to do to make things right?


To help the child affected:

*What did you think when you realized what had happened?

*What impact has this incident had on you and others?

*What do you think needs to happen to make things right?


Core Components of Restorative Practices

1. Restorative Responses encourage positive responses

How we respond to someone impacts how they will respond to us. If we respond to someone’s issue with understanding and genuine interest, we are opening the door for an honest, productive dialogue.

A restorative response addresses an issue in a manner that encourages a positive response from the respondent and:

Is non-judgmental

Gives the speaker positive feedback and encourages them to speak

Restates the major feelings and ideas expressed by the speaker


2. Restorative Questions allow one to learn about the other person

Sometimes one or two strategically placed Restorative Questions is all it takes. Asking someone’s perspective shows them that their feelings and thoughts matter, and allows them the opportunity to reflect and express themselves.

Sometimes there are only two questions you need: What happened? What do you think needs to happen to make things right? (Notice that it is not the adult who states what needs to be done.)


3. Affective Statements promote awareness of feelings

Affective Statements are more than simple “I” statements. They are statements where the speaker not only acknowledges and owns their thought/feeling, but also provides an understanding of the thought/feeling.

I feel _____because…

I get sad when…

Like Restorative Questions, sometimes one or two strategically placed Affective Statements can be a useful tool.


4. Empathetic Listening

Empathetic Listening is when one person truly listens to the thoughts, feelings, and needs of another person, and makes an active effort to comprehend the other person’s perspective.

Empathetic listening is a concentrated effort to:

-Truly hear the speaker and their perspective

-Ensure that the speaker feels that you are comprehending and valuing them without judgment.