Alpena Public Schools
Counseling Program Guide
K - 6
Supporting the Whole Child
WHY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELORS?
Elementary School Student’s Developmental Needs
The elementary years are a time when students begin to develop their academic self-concept and their feelings of competence and confidence as learners. They are beginning to develop decision-making, communication and life skills, as well as character values. It is also a time when students develop and acquire attitudes toward school, self, peers, social groups and family. Comprehensive developmental school counseling programs provide education, prevention and intervention services, which are integrated into all aspects of children’s lives. The knowledge, attitudes and skills that students acquire in the areas of academic, career and personal/social development during these elementary years serve as the foundation for future success.
Why Elementary School Counselors?
Elementary school counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population. Elementary school years set the tone for developing the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary for children to become healthy, competent and confident learners. Through a comprehensive developmental school counseling program, school counselors work as a team with the school staff, parents and the community to create a caring climate and atmosphere. By providing education, prevention, and intervention, school counselors can help all children achieve academic success.
Elementary School Counselors Implement the Counseling Program by Providing:
Classroom Guidance Lessons may include:
Classroom Guidance Lessons
The school counselor is responsible for teaching classroom guidance lessons in every K – 4 classroom. Lessons cover the American School Counseling Association’s academic/career/personal/social standard domains.
Students may need to meet with the school counselor individually for a wide variety of reasons. Some common topics discussed are self-esteem, peer relationships, family concerns and academics. Some students like to drop by to see the counselor if they are having a bad day and just need someone to talk to who will listen. Students may also be referred for individual counseling by staff regarding academic/personal/social/behavior issues.
School counseling individual sessions are short term and educational in design rather than therapeutic. Individual sessions typically last for 6 weeks. It is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment for any mental health disorder. Counseling sessions that take place are confidential. This means that the information that is discussed may not be disclosed to anyone. The only exception is if disclosure of information will protect the student and/or his or her peers from danger or harm.
Group counseling topics are based on the needs of students. The school counselor works with the student’s teachers to coordinate group meeting times that do not interfere with direct classroom instruction.
Groups consist of 4 to 6 students who share a similar problem or interest. Examples of small group counseling topics may include anger management, self-esteem, friendship skills, academic and organization skills, divorce and grief, among others. Confidentiality ethics also apply to small groups.