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Relationships First: Restorative Justice in Education

Restorative justice is a relationship focused approach to educating Canada’s youth, though it has been practiced across many disciplines. It focuses on living justly while proactively creating and nurturing healthy relational communities where people commit to acting in a way that upholds the dignity of one another (Vaandering, 2011). Restorative justice is a concept that originates from spiritual and indigenous traditions, both in Canada and abroad. It has applications in all aspects of education, including at the institutional level and in curriculum.

Why use restorative justice?

Restorative justice is an evidence-based approach to promoting healthy relationships. This approach focuses on the self-worth and uniqueness of each individual. It also considers a concept of  justice where people are not measured by their actions alone, but rather that they are still worthy and honored in the process of addressing concerns (Vaandering, 2011). Restorative justice seeks to provide opportunities for students to practice social skills in safe settings where all can participate as a means to encourage acceptance among peers, despite differences.

Research shows that promoting evidence-based and relationship-focused solutions for addressing bullying are the most effective approaches. One way to promote healthy relationships with children and youth is to use the restorative justice model.

Want to find out more about restorative justice as a relationship-based solution?

Check out this video and “The Little Book of Restorative Justice in Education” by PREVNet’s partner researcher Dorothy Vaandering.

Visit RelationshipsFirst.com to learn more.

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