Elementary School Counseling
What Are Elementary School Counselors?
Elementary school counselors are educators uniquely trained in child development, learning strategies, self-management and social skills, who understand and promote success for today’s diverse students. They hold a master’s degree and required state certification in school counseling. Maintaining certification includes ongoing professional development to stay current with education reform and challenges facing today’s students.
What Do Elementary School Counselors Do For Students?
Elementary school counselors implement a school counseling program to support students through this important developmental period. The program provides education, prevention and intervention activities, which are integrated into all aspects of children’s lives. The program teaches knowledge, attitudes and skills students need to acquire in academic, career and social/emotional development, which serve as the foundation for future success. Delivery of the program occurs through direct and indirect student services.
Direct student services
instruction – teaching the school counseling curriculum to students focused through the lens of selected student standards from the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success.
appraisal and advisement – assessing student abilities, interests and achievement to help them make decisions about their future.
counseling – providing professional assistance and support to a student or small group of students during times of transition, heightened stress, critical change or other situations impeding student success. School counselors do not provide therapy or long-term counseling in schools. However, school counselors are prepared to recognize and respond to student mental health needs and assist students and families seeking resources.
Indirect student services
consultation – share strategies supporting student achievement with parents, teachers, other educators and community organizations
- collaboration – work with other educators, parents and the community to support student achievement
- referrals – support for students and families to school or community resources for additional assistance and information
Academic Domain at the Elementary Level
Elementary school counselors support students' academic success by delivering information to students and teachers within the school counseling curriculum on best practices in mindsets and behaviors (i.e., learning strategies, self-management skills, social skills) and metacognition skills critical in academic success. They work to remove barriers to access and provide students with the opportunity for academic challenge in the most rigorous coursework possible. They also establish data analysis methods to identify and target systemic barriers deterring equitable access. Elementary school counselors work with administration, teachers, and other school staff to create a school environment encouraging academic success and striving to one's potential.
Career Domain at the Elementary Level
Elementary school counselors play a critical role in students’ career development by introducing careers and the world of work beginning in lower elementary grades. They work with students to identify their interests, abilities, specific career clusters and help students understand the connection between school and the world of work. School counselors collaborate with teachers to integrate career education learning in the curricula and provide opportunities for all students to develop the mindsets and behaviors necessary to learn work-related skills, resilience, perseverance, an understanding of lifelong learning as a part of long-term career success, a positive attitude toward learning, and a strong work ethic.
Social/Emotional Domain at the Elementary Level
Elementary school counselors play a critical role in supporting social/emotional development. They collaborate with classroom teachers to provide the school counseling curriculum to all students through direct instruction, team-teaching or providing lesson plans for learning activities or units in classrooms aimed at social/ emotional development (ASCA, 2019). They are trained in counseling theories that they use to inform, identify, and employ appropriate appraisal methods for individual and group interventions that support K–12 students’ social/emotional development. Volusia County Schools uses the CASEL standards-aligned Harmony SEL curriculum to provide social/emotional development lessons that meet the required Florida Character Education standards instruction to all students.
Florida CPALMS Character Education Standards: