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Mars Area Centennial School

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Counseling » Elementary Counseling Overview

Elementary Counseling Overview

What is Elementary School Counseling? 

Elementary school counseling describes a comprehensive, developmental, and systematic program of services based on national standards offered to children in the school environment. Services are provided by a state certified, professionally trained school counselor. Program services focus on improving developmental and situational concerns related to learning. (Myrick, 1997; Gladding, 2000; ASCA, 2005) 

The Elementary School Counselor…
  • Teaches classroom lessons
  • Facilitates short-term, small group counseling
  • Provides immediate, short-term individual and crisis counseling
  • Works collaboratively with teachers and staff
  • Consults with parents
  • Participates in curriculum development
  • Provides information and/or referrals for community resources to families
Please contact your school counselor if you have any concerns about your child regarding...
  • Family changes (moving, illness, death, divorce or separation)
  • Classroom performance
  • Sudden changes in behavior at school or home
  • Peer relationships
  • Self concept
Components of Guidance Counseling
Academic Guidance — Guidance which assists students and their parents to acquire knowledge of the curricula choices available to students and assist in their success in school. 

Career Guidance — Guidance which helps students to acquire information about work, jobs, apprenticeships, and post-secondary educational opportunities.

Personal/Social Counseling — Counseling which assists a student to develop an understanding of self, the rights and needs of others, how to resolve conflict, and to define educational goals, reflecting their interests, abilities and aptitudes. Such counseling may be provided either in groups in which generic issues of social development are addressed or through structured individual or small group multi-session counseling which focuses on the specific concerns of the participant(s).

Classroom Guidance — Group guidance is a planned, sequential program of learning experiences designed to foster the personal-social, academic and career development of all students. The program consists of a variety of activities carried on through specially organized lessons conducted by counselors working in collaboration with classroom teachers.

Individual Counseling — Individual counseling provides a confidential setting in which students are assisted to examine and understand feelings, attitudes, concerns and behaviors; to explore alternatives and make decisions; to carry out their decisions and evaluate results; and when necessary, to engage in further decision-making.

Counselors are able to meet with students without written parental consent to discuss incidental and normal developmental concerns and to assess a situation for possible recommendation for counseling. If, however, a counselor determines that a structured ongoing course of individual counseling is indicated, the counselor will obtain informed written parental consent before proceeding with personal, emotional, and sensitive issues.

Each school shall require informed written parental consent before a structured ongoing course of individual counseling involving personal, emotional, and sensitive issues is initiated. 

Small Group Counseling — As part of a comprehensive school counseling program within Mars Area School District, the elementary school counselor facilitates short-term, psychoeducational groups. Small groups are designed to support students' development of academic and social skills. Within a smaller, more individualized setting, students are taught interpersonal, coping and academic skills for use in the wider school environment. Groups also support resiliency and assist in removing barriers to learning, allowing students to better access the district's academic curriculum.

Opportunities to participate in school counseling groups vary with the needs of each building and their students. Students may be referred through the Individualized Education Planning (IEP) process or the Pupil Services Team process. At other times, students may be recommended for small group participation by the school counselor, a teacher, the principal or the student's parents. Both regular education students and special education students, when need has been determined, are eligible to participate in school counseling groups. Written parental consent is required prior to student participation.
Topics Covered

Feelings Identification and Expression
Conflict Resolution
Self Esteem
Death and Divorce
Career Education

School-based services are based upon National Standards developed by the American School Counselor Association.