C I R C L E PRAC TI C E
ens organically into the family and
ity to learn math and reading. Teaching the
community to live together well becomes
the foundation of a successful school.
The Task of Changing
Schools have several advantages in the pro-
cess of changing cultural habits:
• They are smaller units of community
and are well-defined, making coherent
change easier to attain.
• Schools are communities where the
same group of people, more or less, are
together for many hours, potentially for
a good number of years, providing sig-
nificant time and opportunity to prac-
tice new behaviors.
• Children learn new habits more quickly than
adults—and have fewer habits to unlearn.
The impact of new habits can be seen
more quickly because of the size and
coherence of school communities. This
provides crucial feedback and reinforce-
ment to motivate continuous effort.
Changing habits is very difficult. We need
structures that help us practice the new
habit until we no longer need the structure.
Circle is just that. Circle is a space to practice
being together in a slower, more thought-
ful, more value-based way with an end goal
of learning to live together with diminished
discord and increased harmony. Circle is the
space for us to practice that way of being
until it becomes second nature and, ideally,
we reach a time when can do it without the
supportive structure of the circle itself.
Educators are in a powerful position to trans-
form our culture by practicing, modeling, and
teaching a new way of being until it becomes
second nature to both students and adults.
No work is more important than that. l
Children are natural ambassadors, tak-
ing new habits back into their homes.
Dissemination of the practices happ-
Kay Pranis teaches and writes about the dialog process known as Peacemaking Circles.
Since her initial exposure to the use of Peacemaking Circles in the justice system, Kay has
been involved in developing the use of these Circles in schools, social services, churches,
families, neighborhoods, museums, universities, municipal planning, and workplaces. Kay
has authored or co-authored several books about Circles including: The Little Book of Circle
Processes—A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking; Heart of Hope—A Guide for Using
Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing & Build Healthy
Relationships; Circle Forward—Building a Restorative School Community. Kay can be con-
tacted at email@example.com