Restorative Practices

Waikōwhai Intermediate uses restorative justice approaches to solving relational and behavioural problems

What is a Restorative Justice approach?

Restorative practice views wrongdoing through a ‘relational’ lens - understanding that wrongdoing harms people and relationships, and that when such harm is done, it creates obligations and liabilities.

Restorative processes focus on creating safe spaces for talking together, exploring different perspectives and how the harm has affected different people, and coming up with ways to repair the harm and make things right. 

Bridge Builders

Bridge Builders help people to understand each other’s side of the story and to solve a problem together. They build bridges of understanding between people.  

In a Bridge Builder Chat, the Bridge Builder asks each person to tell their story and to share how what happened affected them. They ask each person what they think would help solve the problem, and then help them to reach an agreement. They follow up later to check that the agreement is being kept. 


All staff at Waikōwhai can facilitate Bridge Builder chats with students, and all students are also given opportunities to train as a Bridge Builder in workshops with our school counsellor.

Student feedback about Bridge Builder training

I Statements

We encourage and support our students to use their words when they are experiencing difficulties with others. We teach them to use ‘I statements’: describing what has happened and how it has affected them, followed by making a request of the other person.