Restorative Practices: The Science of Building Relationships and Community
Harness the healing power of the mind
Harness the healing power of the mind
Humans have an innate proclivity to connect. Just as we need food, shelter and clothing, people also need strong and meaningful relationships to thrive. Restorative practices is an emerging field that teaches how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities. It gives us tools to replace punitive practices with practices that build character and community, rather than tearing it down; that are based on empathy, rather than isolation; and that help to repair past harm and restore relationships between people and communities.
This program provides support for the many challenges and complex issues we are facing today, including the effects of COVID-19, and tumultuous national climate, isolation and hybrid learning and working environments. The need for Restorative Practices that build flexibility, understanding, and empathy has never been greater. This program teaches the importance of collaboration to ensure a safe, inclusive and supportive school environment, and to create the type of community that people want to be a part of.
This program provides support for the many challenges and complex issues we are facing today, including the tumultuous national climate, the effects of COVID-19, isolation, hybrid learning and working environments, and more. The need for Restorative Practices that help us to rebuild and create a culture of compassion, understanding, tolerance and flexibility has never been greater. This program teaches the importance of collaboration to ensure a safe, inclusive and supportive school environment, and to create a thriving community.
out of the field of Restorative Justice, Restorative Practices in
schools recognizes the need to collectively identify and address both
individual and community harms, needs and obligations, and teaches
practices to heal people and restore and rebuild communities.
In schools today, some educators still respond to what they perceive as student misbehavior with punishment. However, many schools and school districts are abandoning the language of zero-tolerance and are introducing Restorative Practices. A well-known example is a Baltimore, Maryland school that replaced detention with meditation. As a result of replacing a punitive approach with an approach to develop emotional support, the suspension rates in the school dropped significantly. Some of the students reported that the program changed their lives. For example, if they were taking a test, they would just start taking deep breaths. In the midst of noise, they would meditate to tune out all the noise and recenter and calm themselves. And the best part – it actually helped them to build their character. One of the students recalled that in the middle of an argument with their parents, they were about to lose their cool when they remembered the breathing techniques. After breathing – the anger was gone. That might actually be the best conflict resolution ever!
This change from punitive to supportive school environments represents an enormous victory for organizations and activists such as Deborah Norris, Ph.D., Founder of The Mindfulness Center and her husband Jon W. Norris, J.D., who have long fought the school-to-prison pipeline,. Zero-tolerance puts school resources toward policing and punitive policies, instead of toward teaching and support. The number of youth—overwhelmingly youth of color—out of school and incarcerated has skyrocketed; LGBTQ and disabled youth are also targeted. Restorative Practices don’t work as an add-on. They require us to address the roots of student problems. It requires a willingness to rethink and rework our classrooms, schools, and school districts. Meaningful alternatives to punitive approaches take time and trust. Built on the principles of mindfulness, effective programs are school-wide and community-wide. They integrate administrators, teachers, students and families in this effort to provide a culture of inclusivity, learning, and caring.
Development of this program is informed by research, practice and education in neuroscience, psychology, resiliency, stress, management, and personal experience.
The goals of this course are to teach the skills for creating a community and culture based on principles of mindfulness to enhance social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth and well-being of students, while maintaining the resilience and endurance of the entire school community. This course works with educators to help them to envision a future where every child thrives.
The Mindfulness Center’s program is designed to be easy and enjoyable to use, inviting busy educators to use this training for self-improvement, and rejuvenation while learning to release stress and personal trauma. In knowing what works for oneself, and how to create a sanctuary space within oneself, one is better prepared to contribute to a culture of safety, transformation and growth.
The program includes a live orientation conducted synchronously online, as well as three live, online Question and Answer sessions, in order for participants to process new material and to discuss topics of personal concern and real-life situations with which you may be dealing. These live sessions, which span the eight-week program, also provide an opportunity to connect with colleagues and enhance community, an essential part of Restorative Practices. The dates and times for the live sessions will be scheduled and shared with all participants at the start of the program. Registration for these live programs can be done in advance so as to avoid delays in signing in at the time of the event. (Requiring advance registration is an added security procedure to protect privacy.)
In this program, there will be four live sessions on Restorative Practices for Schools These sessions are presented by Deborah Norris, Ph.D., an expert in the fields of restorative practices, mindfulness and education. These sessions will be recorded and can also be viewed on-demand at your convenience.
Participants who are not able to attend on the date of a live session may view the recorded session afterwards. All live sessions will be recorded and uploaded to the Resource section of this training program.
This training program also includes access to a separate eight-week optional module for learning to meditate, a key practice for developing restorative practices, mindfulness skills, and resiliency. This online module is called “Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation.” Each week, you can use the materials provided to learn to meditate, or to deepen your practice if you already have one. The training material addresses many questions that beginning meditators may have such as how to establish a meditation practice; how often to practice; how to address challenging times; and much more. Enjoy at your leisure and experience the stress relieving practice of mindfulness meditation.
The concepts of Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices, as well as the role of mindfulness and resiliency are important inter-related topics. Bridging the gap between exclusionary school discipline (ESD) practices and Restorative Practices, as big a gap as it is, requires an understanding of how and why multi-tiered systems of support that address the root causes of behavior are more effective, how to implement these systems. Research on the effectiveness and outcomes of these practices supports the importance of this change, and the need for restorative practices to stop the trauma and adverse effects associated with punitive approaches. This course provides access to these resources and references to support the learning process. In this program, you will find links to multiple original published articles on the implementation of Restorative Practices in Schools, such as the ones below:
All training program participants are invited as well to attend live online classes at The Mindfulness Center, including yoga, meditation and Tai Chi. Check out the schedule for classes that fit your schedule and learn from experts in these practices.
Step 1 – Take the Entry Survey before beginning the program. (estimated time: 4 minutes)
Step 2 – Review the Course Documents. (estimated time: 20 minutes)
Step 3 – Register for and attend upcoming live events, and mark these events on your calendar.
At your convenience and optional:
Practices that build character and community, rather than tearing it down