Sharing stories around a fire

May 5, 2014

Beth, an Earth Science teacher, talks about the impact of our Restorative Circles Program on her class at Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies this year.

"The circle allows people to feel vulnerable, to feel safe in the community.  And because [students] feel safe, they are able to console each other and empathize with each other, and just be kind. 
I think the model of the circle—sitting together in a circle, having a talking piece, and having rituals... that is safe in and of itself. It harkens back to the time when our ancestors sat around the campfire and told stories. That was how community was built, before we had cities and towns. This is really just a part of being human—sharing stories around a fire.  
In my classroom, that sharing was so powerful that it really set a tone for the entire school year.
You have to be willing to be vulnerable to say 'I don't know something' in an academic class. So the bridge between social and emotional skills and academic skills is so strong here, and the work that Morningside Center has done has allowed this to happen."