17 May, 2024

Restorative behaviour in primary schools

Restorative behaviour in primary schools  - Laura Blog Post
Nurturing well-being and fostering positive growth
Laura Heathfield, Deputy Head of Primary at BSY, highlights the shift in education towards restorative practices that emphasize positive behaviour and well-being over traditional disciplinary methods. By integrating restorative approaches, BSY aims to foster empathy, accountability, and a supportive community, thereby enhancing students' emotional well-being and interpersonal skills.
Within the world of education, the focus has shifted from disciplinary approaches to developing positive behaviour and well-being in primary schools. The adoption of restorative practices represents a significant shift in this direction. Restorative behaviour goes beyond traditional discipline; it aims to build relationships, nurture empathy, and create a supportive community within primary schools. This is why at BSY we are embedding these skills in our own daily practice. 

Restorative behaviour is rooted in the philosophy of understanding and repairing harm rather than punishing wrongdoing. It is a proactive approach that places emphasis on building and maintaining positive relationships, both among students and between students and teachers. The core principles involve accountability, empathy, and collaborative problem-solving. 

One of the key benefits of restorative behaviour in primary schools is its ability to create a positive and inclusive learning environment. By prioritising open communication and mutual respect, restorative practices set the tone for a school culture that values each student as an individual and encourages the expression of thoughts and feelings. 

In our new BSY behaviour policy, which is based around the restorative framework, conflicts are seen as opportunities for growth rather than disruptions. Students learn to understand the impact of their actions on others and are guided towards making amends. This not only reduces instances of disruptive behaviour but also cultivates a sense of responsibility and self-discipline among students. 

Restorative practices are closely linked to the emotional well-being of students. The emphasis on empathy and understanding allows students to feel heard and supported. When conflicts arise, the restorative approach provides a safe space for students to express their emotions and concerns. This emotional validation is crucial in developing resilience and fostering a positive self-image. 

By addressing the root causes of behavioural issues and involving students in the resolution process, restorative behaviour contributes to a sense of belonging and community. Students are more likely to view their school as a supportive environment where their well-being is prioritised. 

Restorative practices actively engage students in the process of conflict resolution. Through facilitated discussions and dialogue, students learn essential social skills such as active listening, effective communication, and problem-solving. These skills extend beyond conflict resolution; they are life skills that contribute to positive interpersonal relationships both within and outside the school setting. 

As students actively participate in the resolution process, they develop a deeper understanding of the consequences of their actions. This heightened self-awareness encourages them to make choices that align with positive behaviour, leading to a more harmonious and cooperative school community. 

Restorative behaviour in primary schools is not just a disciplinary approach; it is a holistic philosophy that prioritises the well-being and growth of students. By fostering positive relationships, nurturing emotional well-being, and building social skills, restorative practices contribute to the development of resilient, empathetic, and responsible individuals. 

In a world where the emphasis on standardised testing can sometimes overshadow the emotional and social aspects of education, restorative behaviour serves as a reminder that a child's well-being is integral to their overall academic success. As we embrace this approach, it lays the foundation for a generation of students who not only excel academically but also embody the values of empathy, accountability, and positive collaboration. Ultimately, restorative behaviour is an investment in the future well-being and success of our young learners.