All TPS students get the chance to participate in a communication enhancing practice called council. These sessions are held by Heidi Rose, a trained council and restorative practices facilitator, a qualified counsellor, founding director of ‘Circlewise’ CIC and a parent at the school. Heidi and her team of adult mentors, hold circles for TPS students in the beautiful yurt behind the school. We sit together regularly in a particular form to share stories, thoughts, experiences, feelings and a bit more about who we all are.
Many students say how helpful it has been to hear each other in an environment outside their ‘normal’, which often confirms that they are not the only ones feeling a certain way. Most have said that they appreciate the slower pace of council, with time taken to really listen both to themselves and each other. The focus of this practice is in listening, although there is always an opportunity to speak without interruption. This can be challenging for some, so nobody is ever asked or expected to speak if they don’t want to and equal value is placed on listening.
Council at TPS is a pilot that we are hoping to bring to other schools in the future. Over the past 30 years it has become an integrated practice in many school systems in the U.S. There is now more and more research evidencing the positive impact not only on children’s mental and emotional well-being but also on their oracy skills, their ability to focus, to understand and empathise with others, to learn and to assimilate information.
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Council Leader - Heidi Rose
Heidi Rose’s vision for young people’s social, emotional and mental well-being was born over 20 years ago while sitting in a circle with a group of teenagers at a school in California. As she listened to the wisdom, compassion and grace of these young people, who had regular ‘council’ at school, she knew, even before having children of her own, that she wanted this for them and for all children. Heidi realised that experiencing this depth of listening could give young people a real sense of connection, value and belonging.
Heidi is passionate about the impact of sharing our stories and life experience in circles. She particularly wants to hear what young people have to say and to support them to find their voice.
Heidi is a member of the BCAP and is a certified psychotherapeutic counsellor, eco-therapist and council facilitator. She is also a wife and mother who has both home-educated and worked in schools. She holds circles for organisations, in the community and with individuals and is a founding director of Circlewise as well as having her own practice working one to one, in person, remotely and in nature.