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Early Childhood Training Workshops
Our training flyer outlines the training package that we offer schools. This training has been delivered to teachers involved in early childhood education. Because these teachers have tremendous influence, through daily contact with children and their families, their modelling of restorative philosophy, through positive relationships and unconditional regard, has the potential to effect significant social change.
While language may need to be modified to be understood by our young this is not seen as problematic to early chilhood teachers who believe in restorative philosophy and the importance of ‘story-ing’ values, respect and success with their students.
Sarah Hewison, Head Teacher at Tarrangower Kindergarten, Taumarunui writes:
As part of our involvement in the Haere Whakamua (EHSAS) project, all those involved were invited to workshops being run by Kath and Ron Cronin-Lampe on Restorative Practices. Our Kindergarten, Tarrangower and Paraone St Kindergarten teachers were the first early childhood educators to be a part of developing Restorative Practices.
For us, the concepts of relationships and identifying the positive in children were now not new but we learned new dimensions that could be added to how we worked with children.
"The first idea that we have taken from the Restorative Practices approach is when a child has a conflict with another or with a teacher they are removed from the situation. The child is supported by a teacher (if the conflict is with a teacher we have another teacher step in) to work through 'anger' until the child is more settled and able to identify and deal with the issue.
The child then returns to the person with whom they had conflict and supported to work through the problem and acknowledgement is made about the expectations we have for interacting and dealing with other people.
The second idea that we have utilised a lot from the Restorative Practices approach is to work with the child to identify their strengths and interests, which is a cornerstone to the philosophy of learning in early childhood but to also then to try to have the child (with teacher support and guidance) identify how we can use these strengths to try to overcome inappropriate behaviours in the future."
We have practiced the concept of developing Mahi Pai with the children, a set of behaviour expectations agreed upon by the group. We found the children could identify behaviours we didn’t want to see so rephrased their responses into the flip side, behaviours we did want to see. We, as teachers have been working on our questioning techniques so will revisit Mahi Pai to redevelop the expectations. This time using questions that are phrased to draw from the children the positive behaviours we expect at Kindergarten.
During a recent revisiting of the Restorative Practices with Kath and Ron, and the other Haere Whakamua participants, Tarrangower teachers learnt that a school or Kindergarten supporting a restorative approach, sees themselves as in relationships with students, not as authorities over them. This really supports the teaching approach that we have at Tarrangower as being "co-learners" with children.