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Durham District School Board
Ignite Learning
Restorative Practice

What Is Restorative Practice?

Restorative Practice is a way of thinking and being that cultivates community, supporting well-being and achievement. Restorative Practice fosters the conditions that promote a positive sense of self, spirit and belonging. Restorative Practice provides a framework to maintain community when challenges and conflicts arise and to restore community when needed.

There are nine interconnected elements upon which Restorative Practice is based. These elements (i.e., healthy relationships, voice, fair process, structure and support, safety, empathy and perspective-taking, ownership, learning, belonging and interdependence) provide the foundation to cultivate caring and healthy communities.

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A Tiered Approach To Restorative Practice

A tiered approach to Restorative Practice supports well-being and achievement by, first, cultivating a strong, healthy community for all, including students, school staff, parents and the broader school community; second, maintaining community when challenges and conflicts arise; and third, restoring community when needed. 

Cultivating Community:

Affective Communication: Affective communication involves the expression of feelings about things, others and self. This occurs both verbally and non-verbally.

Circles: Circles provide the structure by which learning and community-building take place. Circles give participants the opportunity to connect by speaking and listening to one another.

Maintaining Community:

Restorative Conversations: Restorative conversations are impromptu discussions that seek to address concerns using restorative language. Restorative questions, such as those shown here, are often used to guide conversations.

Responsive Circles: Responsive circles aim to address concerns that impact members of the community. Responsive circles use specific questions to explore the concern, providing members the opportunity to use their voice to express their feelings and needs, and how they think the group should move forward.

Small Conferencing: A small conference involves bringing together those who have been impacted by an incident, using a structured process based on restorative questions, to determine what is needed to make things right.

Restoring Community:

Formal Conferencing: A formal conference often involves more people, planning and preparation than a small conference. Usually reserved for major incidents, those impacted directly and indirectly come together to discuss the incident and what is needed to make things right using a structured process based on restorative questions.

DDSB Board Policies, Regulations and Procedures

​#5148 Regulation Positiv​e School Climate
​#5500 Regulation DDSB Code of Conduct and
Discipline for Students




Durham District School Board
400 Taunton Road East,
Whitby, ON
L1R 2K6 Canada

Phone: 905-666-5500
Fax: 905-666-6474
Toll Free: 1-800-265-3968
TTY 905-666-6943, 877-868-5575
© Durham District School Board, 2013