Templars' Restorative Approach to Behaviour
We are teachers.
We teach children reading, writing, maths, the arts, humanities and sports.
We also teach them how to be; to be caring, honest and respectful – to themselves and others.
Children are learners.
When children are learning they often make errors- we guide and coach and support and acknowledge and praise. We intervene to stop them making mistakes. We don’t shout or get cross or punish them, rather we celebrate the courage to give something a go, and get it wrong, and to keep trying and trusting the adults to help.
Why then would we do the opposite when it comes to behaviour?
Just like a child isn’t born knowing how to count, neither are they born knowing how to ‘behave’. They learn by watching people around them and by trying out patterns and experimenting with actions. It can be hard to learn appropriate behaviours for different contexts – what is ok when you are 3 suddenly becomes not ok when you are 4 and start school. How do you know unless you get it wrong and support is there to give you the knowledge and skills to help you to put it right?
So just like learning to count, when a child gets a behaviour ‘wrong’, we teach, give them the knowledge, model and allow them to practice. We guide and coach and support and acknowledge and praise.
We don’t punish.
When it goes wrong, as it does, as it should, we concentrate on the relationship and repair and we learn from it, what it teaches us about how to behave more appropriately. We talk about the consequences and taking responsibility for our actions.
We have a relational, restorative approach.
We have lots of children – as does every school – who have an insecure sense of self and a heightened response to threat or rejection because of their individual circumstances and situations. So we concentrate on our relationships with and between children and staff and we use the high levels of attunement we have with our children to enable us to structure learning and experiences, teach skills to prevent, and, when necessary, challenge harmful behaviours in a supportive and calm manner with a focus on the reparation of the harm caused.
We use a restorative approach and support the children to take responsibility for their own actions. This bit is important. We acknowledge the conditions, the emotions, the contributing factors through discussion but ultimately our behaviour and our actions are our responsibility.
Therefore, it is our responsibility to repair the harm and restore the relationship. Children are coached and guided and supported in this, but they are made very clear about where the responsibility lies - with them, not the teacher, not the lesson plan, not the adversary.
There is an absolutely consistent approach to this – there is zero tolerance of harmful behaviours and attitudes but unconditional regard for all children (people) and their stage of learning and emotional maturity. Each time harm has been caused, discussion is facilitated sensitively and with understanding but without judgement. It is responsive and all involved are given the space and time to become regulated enough for it to happen successfully.
This is difficult, time consuming, emotionally challenging and exhausting. It is worthwhile, creates trusting relationships, makes for a safe, affirming and kind space for children and adults. It supports positive mental health and ensures that every person feels of value.
And it works – our community is empathic, self-aware and celebrates each individual as we all learn from our experiences.
Please see our related Behaviour policy, Anti-Bullying policy, No-Outsiders statement, and related documents.