University of British Columbia – Community Collaboration

Activity #2

Creating a Social Contract

Objective: From the Restitution model you will create a social contract.

It is a process of using effective communication to arrive at a common goal based on community held beliefs and values. The shared picture for the group will emerge from each person’s personal contribution through a process of consensus—which celebrates diversity and views conflict as positive. The focus of the social contract is to build on common values the group identifies towards achieving a goal together.


  • Our ideal program/preschool/community site
  • Our picture of effective communication in the work place
  • Our picture of an effective staff/team as community

The process of arriving at a social contract is more important than the content of the social contract. Here are some consensus building strategies in the process:

  1. Allow each person to share their personal/family beliefs and values that they would like to see incorporated in the Aboriginal Head Start program.
  2. Provide an opportunity for people to ask questions and clarify ideas and words that the person shares. The goal of asking questions is to understand the opinion of others through asking and listening.
  3. Once members of the group have shared their beliefs, decide together on a common goal for the program through a process of consensus. Reach consensus by revising the wording of the beliefs until all people can say they accept the belief.
  4. Relate the beliefs back to basic needs; love, power, freedom, fun and survival to help reduce conflict and achieve agreement.
  5. Spread the process out over two to three meetings with time in between for reflection and informal dialogue. Or, use this process to achieve different goals for children and families.
  6. On a chart, ask participants to visualize and concretize what a belief would “look like, sound like, and feel like”. On the chart you will answer “how”. If the group starts with a question about rules, ask “Why do we have this rule? Refer back to the group beliefs to move on.


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