Restorative Practices: A Parent’s Viewpoint — and Thanks
I wanted to share with you how invaluable the services that Dearborn Academy has provided to my daughter over the past two years. When it comes to this school there are many things that I could rave about, but one area that was particularly helpful was a new program that was introduced over the past year “Restorative Practices.”
I was able to experience firsthand how this new practice worked and the benefits it offers to our children, caregivers and teachers. My daughter and another peer were struggling to get along and consequently their emotions took over and they just couldn’t move forward. There were a lot of hurtful things being said at school and also via social media. It has been my experience in the past that at this point my child most likely would have been asked to stay home to think about the situation but with Restorative Practices this was not the option used.
With this new program the school set up a meeting for both students and parents to be involved and letter was sent prior to the meeting so as parents we knew what to expect. The students were asked to write letters sharing their thoughts and feelings and during the meeting they were given an opportunity to read their letters. This was extremely impactful for everyone in attendance, it gave the girls the opportunity to really hear what her peer was saying, the pain that had been caused, the opportunity to share the reason for things being said and most importantly an opportunity to express remorse and empathy to one another.
In our meeting, both girls listened quietly as they read their letters, both letters were emotional and it was obvious to see that sharing these thoughts and feelings was extremely helpful for the girls to move forward. The meeting was conducted very thoughtfully with no one feeling attacked, it was an opportunity for honesty, taking accountability and being respectful to another person. The meeting allowed discussion for how to move forward and what actions the girls could take towards these next steps.
As a parent, I was extremely grateful to be part of the “Restorative Practices” philosophy. I feel very strongly that this type of learning style is 100% more beneficial and productive in our children’s learning environment, rather than just a punishment of a suspension for not making smart decisions. This method of teaching holds the child accountable and allows them growth and to process the information being shared.
I do hope that you will use this testimonial to help support Dearborn and the great work they are doing to help our children, caregivers and teachers in developing this program so it can hopefully become the common practice in our schools.
(grateful parent of a Dearborn Graduate)