Role of the Elementary School Counselor
What are the benefits of a guidance and counseling program?
The guidance and counseling program in the elementary school promotes healthy child development and enhances student achievement. The program also helps provide for the early identification of problems in children and early intervention to prevent these problems from escalating and interfering with learning.
How does a school counselor provide services?
School counselors provide services to students, parents, school staff and the community in the following areas:
Classroom guidance lessons- The elementary school counselor visits classrooms on a regular basis to teach lessons in these domains: personal/social, academic achievement, and career development. Character education is a large part of the curriculum. The six pillars of character development that are primarily addressed in lessons are respect, responsibility, fairness, citizenship, caring and trustworthiness. The school counselor also spends time in lessons addresssing the issue of bullying. Students will learn strategies to handle bullies and assertiveness skills.
Small group counseling- The school counselor offers small groups which address a wide range of topics. Some examples of small group counseling include social skills, such as friendship building and and self-esteem development. Others may include family changes such as divorce/seperation, grief/loss issues and academic issues. The group topics may vary, and is based on the need of students. *Parental permission is required for small group counseling*
Individual counseling- The school counselor may work with a student on an individual basis to address a specific concern. As school counselors, we may meet with a child on an individual basis up to three times for the same issue before parental permission is required. However, if we feel in our professional opinion that the issue being discussed is something that warrants a phone call home to parents, we will do so as soon as possible. As professional school counselors, our school of thought is that if your child needs to discuss the same problem or issue requiring more than three visits to the school counselor, he/she may benefit from outside resources and therefore not in the domain of the school counselor's role.
What are some of the other roles of the school counselor? School counselors also work collaboratively with parents and teachers to decide on the appropriate steps needed to address the issue that is interfering with the learning process, whether an academic or social issue. The school counselor also helps with crisis intervention.
What are some of the tasks a school counselor "doesn't" do?
*The school counselor does not do testing or diagnosing. The counselor may help serve as the liaison between the specialists involved in this process, such as the school psychologist, or school social worker.
*The school counselor does not do "therapy," and will refer out to other professionals if deemed necessary.
*The school counselor does not coerce a students to participate in individual or group counseling.
*The school counselor does not handle discipline issues. However, the school counselor may follow up with this student if he/she is currently working with the counselor, or if the student is someone who may begin working with the counselor.