What Is Restorative Practice

The science of relationship and community.

All humans are hardwired to connect. Just as we need food, shelter and clothing, human beings also need strong and meaningful relationships to thrive.

Restorative practices is an emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities.

Though new to the social sciences, restorative practices has deep roots within indigenous communities throughout the world.

Read Defining Restorative:

This article presents a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of the field:

Impact of Restorative Practices In Schools

Restorative Practices is a powerful approach to building, sustaining, and repairing relationships in communities. It is based on the understanding that healthy relationships, characterized by attachment and belonging, are a critical element for well-being. In communities, the practice supports the fundamental hypothesis that “human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.” It is a set of intentional practices that support relationship-building – the use of affective statements, the use of affective questions, circle practices and provide a scripted process for repairing relationships when conflict and/or harm occurs (restorative conferencing). In a school context, these practices reframe conflict/tension/harm as a violation of people and relationships rather than a violation of rules. When this mindset has shifted, it prompts significant changes in teacher and administrator practice within schools, creates more equitable and just learning environments, and can significantly impact outcomes for our students.

Research points to the following benefits of school-based restorative practices:

  • Lower student suspension and expulsion rates
  • A decrease in the disproportional discipline rates for marginalized students
  • Reduced bullying
  • Improved relationships between students and staff
  • Improved absenteeism for students and staff
  • Increased social-emotional learning and students well-being.
  • The transformation of a school culture from hierarchical to collaborative

Below are some excellent articles and videos that help us communicate the real of impact of Restorative Practices in Schools: