Restorative school culture in Finland – Dr Maija Gellin

Finland / Youth justice / Schools

Dr Maija Gellin is the director of the programme for restorative approach in education and schools (VERSO-programme) in Finland. She has also worked as a mediation officer under the victim-offender mediation service. She is giving lectures on restorative approach at Univ Helsinki and Univ Lapland as well as in many institutions in Finland and other countries. She is a board member of Finnish Forum for Mediation and a member of Finnish women peace builder’s group and Nordic mediation researcher’s group.

Co-presenter, Lawyer Pia Slögs is the director of community mediation centre in Finland. She is a restorative trainer and mediator. She has completed her studies on restorative justice at Univ Hull, UK. She has worked earlier at victim-offender mediation services for 15 years. Pia is a co-trainer in VERSO-programme especially in Swedish spoken schools in Finland.

Topic: How to create a restorative school culture Restorative values such as respect, sense of community and participation as well as the rights of the child are more important than ever from the perspective of global health and well-being threats. Implementing the restorative approach in schools and day care is focusing not only giving restorative methods to school staff members but more to change the whole school culture to a restorative one. Based on 20 year experience in Finnish schools and the results of PhD research, this session is opening the key concepts of a restorative school community. Including restorative attitude, restorative participation and restorative mediation as basics for daily work in schools and kindergartens strengthens the positive identity of children as well as the wellbeing of whole school community and families. When the skill of restorative encounter is learned already in a school, this ability provides know-how throughout the life.