What Do Elementary School Counselors Do?
~ In past generations, School Counselors or Guidance wasn’t even heard of at the elementary level. But they are now, and are needed more than ever, due to the fast-paced changing world we live in today. Our role mainly focuses on prevention, mediation, and intervention, by providing counseling support and teaching necessary life skills related to: academic, social, emotional, and/or behavioral issue(s), which can or does impede a child’s success in the school environment.
~ School Counselors hold a minimum of a Master’s degree and are educated as to the developmental stages of children, normative issues that they may face, and how to approach various problems affecting the school setting. Due to the rise of divorce and change of roles in many families today, financial pressures, time limitations, media exposure, and the increasing expectations in school, many children, at some point in their academic careers, benefit from some type of counseling support. Plus, the earlier they receive support and have assistance with developing healthier habits and life skills, the better off and more prepared they will be, as they enter their middle school and high school years.
~ Counseling referrals often come from teachers/staff, parents, and even from the students themselves. The length of time in which the student attends their counseling sessions would depend upon their issue and their rate of growth. School counselors generally see students for approximately one half-hour each week, either individually, or in peer groups. Some of the issues that we help students with may include: social skills, assertiveness, self-confidence, developing and utilizing coping strategies, divorce, grief, changes in the family, anxiety, study/organizational skills, anti-bullying strategies, perfectionism, and/or those dealing with any condition(s), which again, affects their school success.
~ At the elementary level, there are many creative and fun therapeutic activities, which are often utilized during our counseling sessions. These may include: role-playing, puppetry, drawing, bibliotherapy, facilitated peer discussions, written responses, and a variety of therapeutic games. All of which, can serve as a vehicle to teach, reinforce concepts/skills, and/or help them to express their thoughts and feelings.
~ In addition to counseling/teaching students, we also attend meetings, consult with teachers, staff, and parents, assist in developing behavioral plans and incentives, handle crises, mediate situations, assist in the coordination of CMTs, as well as provide parents with information which may assist their child(ren) outside of the school setting.
~ May your child have a wonderful and successful school year ~