From a restorative practice perspective, it is particularly important that the school environment is a place where children and adolescents can experience another way of managing their relationships with themselves and others, based on communicating their thoughts, feelings and needs. The example given by all staff in the way they interact with students teaches them how to deal with conflict and challenge in constructive ways, how to take responsibility when they get things wrong and to put things right. In these ways they learn to become responsible citizens who can make a change in our societies by spreading values such as connectedness, solidarity, responsibility, inclusion, core in restorative justice and restorative practice. Furthermore, it is important that staff, children and adolescents learn to think of conflict as an opportunity for learning and for change and not only as a threat.
This suggests an overall change of the school culture from a punitive and conservative approach to a restorative and innovative one. Schools adopting a restorative culture will engage the whole school community, beginning with the senior leadership team and the administration who will set the tone and be the models of best practice with their staff team, with families and with the students themselves.
For the restorative culture to flourish in a school a range of restorative practices can be introduced and modeled by leaders and staff, including one-to-one restorative conversations to address challenging behavior; pro-active circles to build community and trust in staffrooms and classrooms; restorative circles to address problems and conflicts as well as practices involving students as facilitators such as peer-mediation.