Restorative Justice

As teachers, we sometimes find that when there are social issues with students, it is beneficial to gather those involved and give them an opportunity to verbalise how they are feeling.

The goal with restorative practice is to get everyone involved one step closer to meting their needs whilst improving communication, understanding and empathy for one another.

The questions that can be used include:

  1. What happened? (giving students the opportunity to be heard)
  2. How were you feeling? (Identifying and understanding each other’s feelings)
  3. What happened after your behaviour? (Giving them the opportunity to assess whether the behaviour is working for them)
  4. Who else was involved, what do you think their feelings and needs were? (Help students to develop empathy and emotional intelligence)
  5. Who else was affected who was not directly involved?
  6. What have you learnt and what will you do next time? (Listen, ask questions, check understanding, summarise)
  7. How can you repair what has happened? (Gives a sense of resolution)

It is better to give than to receive

It is better to give than to receive


As corny as it sounds, it is true, giving is, indeed, better than receiving.

The act of giving is rewarding and benefits to the giver include a surge in “feel good” hormones and a drop in the stress hormone cortisol.

In one study, participants were given some money and told that they had to spend it before the end of the day. Those who were told that they had to spend it on others, (in contrast to those who had to spend it on themselves) were measured as happier.

The Dalai Lama believed that true happiness comes not from gathering material possessions but from being concerned about the needs of others and Ghandi said that the “best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Social support, or offering and giving emotional help to others helps us to feel more satisfied and engaged with life. I will never forget when my two youngest children were severely ill in hospital and friends were doing all they could to support me both emotionally and physically. One night, a friend’s husband who I barely knew, knocked at our door to drop off a meal. I felt guilty because I wasn’t sure how I was going to repay his and everyone else’s kindness. This man said to me, “what goes around comes around.” I think he wanted me to understand the benefit that he received from giving to us. I also think that he felt that his kind act would enact the concept of “paying it forward”. It did, and years later, I still often remember his words.


Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008).

Think about how you have supported and encouraged other people recently and how it made you feel. Fulfilled, happy and rewarding are words that come to mind and the more we practice giving the more habitual it will become.


Team work means that you are a great team mate. You do your share and get people to work well together.

This YouTube clip shows groups of animals banding together and looking after each other.


In each of our classrooms at Barwon Heads PS, we cooperate with each other and work together. When we go outside to play on the oval, whether it be cricket, football or soccer, teamwork is involved. Teamwork occurs at home when you do things to help others, especially your parents.

Can you think of any other examples of times when you have used the Character Strength of teamwork?

Can you think of any books that involve teamwork?

persistence and grit

Persistence means I work hard to finish what I start. I don’t give up.

“If Perseverance (persistence) is your top strength, you work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you “get it out the door” in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks”.

According to Angela Duckworth it is “grit” that makes people successful. Grit is a combination of passion and persistence (perseverance) and can grow. Grit is a bit like drive and is the secret to outstanding achievement.





There are so many stories about people who have used persistence and grit to achieve success. Who is your favourite fictional character or real person who has worked hard and become successful at something?


Curiosity is defined as a strong desire to know or learn something. People who are curious want to explore and find out new things. They are interested in learning more about anything and everything. They are always asking questions and find all subjects and topics fascinating. They like exploration and discovery.


Curiosity fuels intrinsic motivation to learn

Curiosity brings pleasure and enhances memory

Curious people have more developed cognitive skills; they learn more and learn better


Some deep thoughts about curiosity from a Grade 2 student – thank you Ms Blake!

What are you curious about?

Choir at BHPS

Mrs Blake and I love choir and always look forward to Tuesdays when we get together to sing. We feel very lucky that Sarah Dawe comes and accompanies us on her ukulele, singing with her beautiful voice too. Psychological research has shown that involvement with music can improve positive emotions and wellbeing. Listening to and playing an instrument or singing can enhance mood and provide other health benefits which have been documented in medical journals.  I notice our choir members smiling at each other and enjoying being part of a group. Mrs Blake and I often talk about how happy we feel after a choir session 🙂





Self Belief

Self Belief: “I know what I believe in and I wonder about the world I live in”.

People who believe in themselves have inner confidence that helps them to understand their purpose. They value themselves, and believe that they contribute value to others and to the world. Their belief in themselves helps to drive their actions.

In “We’re All Wonders,” Auggie looks different from other people and uses his inner strength to stay strong. This book taps into people’s desire to be seen as who they really are.

“Iggy Peck, Architect” and “Rosie Revere, Engineer,” are stories about pursuing dreams and believing in yourself.


Can you make a connection to a character in a book who showed self belief?

Open Mindedness

Open Mindedness means, thinking things through and being open to different people or ideas.

Open mindedness and respect can be promoted by demonstrating empathy and compassion through your words and actions. People who are open-minded love others despite AND because of their differences.

In Rose Meets Mr Wintergarden by Bob Graham, the Wintergardens live next door to a scary, grumpy, old man but Rose overcomes her fears and shows an open mind by visiting Mr Wintergarden and becoming friends with him.







As the new school year begins, it’s a good time to cultivate gratitude. By doing so we can increase our wellbeing and happiness.

We can feel gratitude towards others in response to being given a gift or being the beneficiaries of good intentions. We can also feel a sense of gratitude towards the local environment, our homes, the world and other people. By doing this we appreciate the goodness in our lives and outside our lives. Simply being grateful for being alive is a great motivator.

Some of the benefits of having an attitude of gratitude include;

-Being happier and liked more by others,

-Strengthening our emotions and helping us to be optimistic,

-Reducing materialism and increasing spiritualism,

-Increasing our self-control and resilience and

-Making us more concerned about others than ourselves.

Writing a gratitude journal can increase wellbeing by more than 10% and writing a gratitude letter to someone can also serve as a happiness booster. Simply talking about what you have been grateful for at the end of each day is a powerful activity for celebrating all the good things happening in your lives. Another fun idea is to make a paper chain with gratitude messages. At Barwon Heads PS, we create opportunities for our school community to express their gratitude in a multitude of ways including written notes to others, diary writing, conversations and students writing letters to their parents. The students also create art works in which they can express gratitude. Once we begin to be grateful, we realise and notice the many things around us that we can appreciate.


There is always something to be thankful for.