Restorative Circles

Using the circle process to build relationships and create a positive school culture

Why we use character circles in our school

The goal of the restorative circles is to teach students to understand, care about, and, most importantly, act upon core character principles. Character is what you do when no one is looking. The circle starter activities encourage students to use reflective thinking, which is fundamental to the development of an intrinsic motivation that doesn’t rely on external recognition or rewards. Spending time in circles fosters purposeful exploration and reflection of the everyday choices that students make about their behavior, relationships, and education.

Ultimately, circle time helps form strong relationships between staff and student and among students. Effective schools create a strong sense of community, which in turn fosters higher levels of student learning. Research shows that morale directly impacts achievement. When teachers and students work in a positive school culture, students learn more effectively and teacher morale and retention improves. 

To be effective, character education must become an integral part of the daily actions of everyone in the school community. This process starts with the faculty. Whether you choose to or not, anyone who spends time teaching children is a character educator. Children are continuously watching our every action and listening to every word, therefore the importance of role modeling can not be overstated. In academics we recognize the importance of modeling what we teach, this concept also holds true in teaching character and behavior principles. What character values and behavioral qualities are we modeling for them? Are they learning to be kind, respectful, responsible and fair? 

Effective character education is not an add-on, but instead uses "teachable moments" in every classroom.