What We Do

RESTORATIVE SCHOOLS

Programs

About

We work in partnership with the Toronto District School Board to establish a whole-school commitment to restorative mindset and practices.

Building a positive school environment is about more than just academic achievement—it is about developing healthy relationships between all students and adults in the school and wider community.

Educators are increasingly interested in using restorative practices that build on values such as empathy, responsibility and community. Schools that utilize restorative approaches have seen significant results, including lowered suspensions rates, higher graduation rates, and an overall improved school atmosphere.

Since 2004, Peacebuilders has worked in dozens of schools, training educators and students to use restorative practices and approaches to manage conflict and build safe and healthy learning environments.

Watch the video below to learn more about our Restorative Schools Programs.

Our Approach

We partner with schools in the Toronto District School Board to establish a whole-school commitment to restorative mindset and practices. This means working with all education and community partners—from students to teachers, hall monitors to parents—to promote safe, inclusive, and caring school climates.
Peacebuilders staff work directly with partner school a restorative culture from the ground up.

We do this by:

  • Redefining and engaging the school community
  • Creating a shared language and vision
  • Capacity-building through trainings and workshops
  • Facilitating restorative practices with students and the school community

How Does It Work?

This framework illustrates some of the ways restorative practices can be used in schools.

Early Diversion Pilot Project

Between 2016 and 2019, with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Youth Opportunities Fund, Peacebuilders partnered with the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Police Service, and Justice for Children and Youth to develop, implement, and evaluate a pre-charge diversion program for Toronto high-schools.

The project was piloted at Central Technical School and Eastdale Collegiate Institute between September 2017 and April 2019.

Learnings from the pilot were documented and shared in a report. Click here to download a copy of our report.

How It Works

STEP 1

  • A teacher, administrator, parent, or student makes a referral to Peacebuilders.
  • A referral form must be completed and students must consent to participate in the program. 
  • Participation is voluntary. 

STEP 2

  • The student(s) meet with the Restorative Schools Coordinator and a teacher to begin programming. 
  • Peacebuilding Circles are used to work through the conflict in a safe and supportive environment. 

STEP 3

  • All participants develop a common resolution, which is presented to the referral source.

STEP 4

  • The Restorative Schools Coordinator follows up with the participants and the referral source to determine whether the resolution is working and if further programming is needed. 

Youth Advisory

The Restorative Schools Youth Advisory ensures that student voices inform every aspect of the program. Students from Peacebuilders’ Restorative Schools sites meet regularly to discuss the program, as well as issues at each school and in their communities. In addition to being regular participants at monthly Steering Committee meetings, the youth advisory participates in many community activities and discussions.

Many of the students joined the Youth Advisory after participating in Peacebuilders’ school-based programs. As a member the Youth Advisory at Central Tech explained: “It’s important to hear from kids because we’re the ones that get in trouble. We know what’s going on at the school.”

 

For further program information, referrals and intake, please contact:

Lorna Richards, Restorative Justice Programs Manager
416-960-9778 | lrichards@peacebuilders.ca

“If I have a problem with a teacher, Peacebuilders can help me resolve the problem by setting up a circle with the teacher. We’ll all be in the same room together to speak about what happened.”

– Grade 10 student, Eastdale Collegiate Institute

“Peacebuilders brings us together. It helped me understand what I might have done wrong or could have done different. It helped me see both sides of things.”

– Grade 9 student, Central Technical School

“The Peacebuilders program is really supportive and what I really appreciate is that it was restorative. It helps both the students and the teacher move forward and reorganize the boundaries. Peacebuilders provides support when other options aren’t available.”

– Teacher, Central Technical School

Thank you to our partners and supporters