Learning to cooperate during group activities, resolve conflicts and accept differences are all skills we value at Inwoods. The importance of respectful, honest relationships imbues the staff interactions with each other, the parents, and the children. This atmosphere and attention going across the board of all interactions is an important way of facilitating learning about this in the children. We take time in all-school circles, when an issue has arisen, and in our class sessions – both planned and unplanned – to look at ways we humans can learn to look after each other and the wider world.
Inwoods doesn’t consider itself a ‘free-school’ or ‘democratic’ school; however we help the children to take responsibility not just for their own learning, but for the atmosphere of the whole school.
Punishment and reward are increasingly shown to be ineffective in the long term and often have results different from those intended. Children at Inwoods are not punished for inappropriate behaviour but are, often with the help of an adult, given the space to reflect and make suggestions for right action in the future. A ‘Mediation Circle’ is offered when conflictual incidents reoccur between the same children. This will include these children, their parents, and a facilitator. In some cases of recurrent issues, strategies to better support the child may be put in place in a transparent and consensual manner.
Ongoing feedback between parents and teachers regarding social/emotional issues is considered important. Monthly Parent Meetings occur on weekends, with all the teachers. These are important links between home and school, and help create the culture of Inwoods.