Restitution and Reggio Emilia

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There is a discipline strategy that is being used in my teaching district, called Restitution.  Restitution comes originally from aboriginal philosophy, and it also fits well into my own Christian beliefs.

Restitution is a move against using punishment, “guilting”, or acting as a buddy or a monitor towards children.  Rather, it builds on creating “common beliefs”, guiding the children to know the beliefs and to “make it right” when they are not following those beliefs.  For example:  If children are speaking unkindly to each other, ask them,  “Do you believe in respect?  (yes.)  Then try to say that in a different way to your sister.”

And that’s it.  Simple.

Restitution refers to William Glasser‘s theory that all people have basic needs for belonging, autonomy, freedom and pleasure.  Sometimes children (and adults) try to get these needs met in negative ways, hence, negative behaviour.  All behaviour is trying to meet a need.  This is a far more compassionate way of viewing our children, than labeling them as “naughty”, “lazy”, “bad” etc. when they make a mistake.

I use Restitution in my classroom, as well as at home with my children.  I grew up in a home that used a lot of punishment and guilt messages, which I don’t think served me well.  I want to use different kinds of loving discipline with my own children that leaves them feeling empowered.

Another book that has many “restitutionish” ideas is the tried and true, How to Talk so Kids Can Listen and Listen so Kids Can Talk


Reggio Emilia is an early childhood learning philosophy that originated in Italy.  It is based on observing children, creating learning experiences based on their interests, recording their conversations and building on their discoveries, using colourful, texture-rich materials and play areas.

The photos in this post are taken at my daughter’s preschool, Childgarden Preschool, which is centered in this approach.




A book that I am currently relishing is called, Bringing Learning to Life: The Reggio Approach to Early Childhood Education by Louise Boyd Cadwell.  Her other book is in my sidebar.

This might sound like a lot of information, so please ask me any questions.  I hope to elaborate on both these philosophies in future posts!  I’ve been working on my sidebar and writing posts to make links, so look for this one there soon!

Hope you’re having a great week!

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