Who are Elementary School Counselors?

School Counselors are educators with Masters Degrees and specific training in child growth and development, counseling, mental health disorders, communication skills and more. They know how to listen and help students with life's challenges.  

What do Elementary Counselors do?

The American Community School aims through the Counseling program to reach every child in the Elementary School through push-in lessons using the Second Steps Program.

In Early Childhood Education (ECE), program delivery focuses on helping children listen, pay attention, control their behavior and get along with others.  This focus helps students be able to enter Kindergarten with the self-regulation and social-emotional skills they need to meet with success.  

The program for this age group is broken down into the following focus units:

  • Skills for Learning
  • Empathy
  • Emotion Management
  • Friendship Skills and Problem Solving
  • Transition to Kindergarten

During Kindergarten, the Second Step Program helps students make the transition to elementary school with the focus shifting to acquiring new skills, how to control impulses, stay focused and follow classroom essential agreements.

Grade 1 students are growing and learning quickly.  Socially and emotionally, they need to learn how to self-regulate emotions, calm down, get along with others and practice empathy.

By second grade students are more independent and self aware.  They are beginning to solve problems on their own.  They are able to show compassion and are gaining confidence and school success with focused attention, listening skills and task completion.

As children grow academically, they begin to work on more collaborative project based activities as well as more complex multi-step problems in the classroom. The third grade program focuses on managing anxiety, disappointment and how to work well together inside and outside of the classroom.

As fourth grade students become ever more social and interact more with peers, the program reinforces skills such as giving compliments, participating in conversations, managing strong feelings and taking responsibility.

Fifth grade students are keenly aware of social status and need skills to help them deal with gossip and peer pressure.  They also need to develop skills of self-regulation to help them focus in class and learn. The program during this grade shifts to address these issues and help students understand the complexities of feelings and reactions so they can be ready to learn and deal with emotions and problems responsibly.

The Second-Step program for K-5 students is broken down into the following focus units:

  • Skills for learning
  • Empathy
  • Emotion Management
  • Problem Solving

Why are Elementary School Counselors necessary?

Today's schools need to be caring and responsive places that help all students through the many transitions they face on the way to becoming responsible and competent adults. Counselors are sensitive to all these transitions and have special skills that ensure that children's personal, social, and intellectual needs are met. In addition, the counselors believe that with so many diverse student nationalities represented, they can help students build interpersonal strengths to work effectively with others. They are also an important link between school and the community at large.

Who are Elementary School Counselors for?

Everyone! Counselors make themselves available to all students, parents, teachers and administrators. Counselors are in each elementary school classroom on a monthly basis and quickly get to know students through these counseling lessons.   

How can the Elementary School Counselors help parents and children? 

Students and parents may contact the school counselor by phone, email, note, or in person to discuss the student's educational needs or for help in coping with personal challenges.

For example, the counseling program can offer the following services:

  • Individual or small group counseling to learn how to build social skills, develop friendships, cope with change, and adjust to new school
  • New student orientation
  • Help in accessing community resources
  • Identifying a student's needs and helping to develop strategies to meet those needs
  • Parent chats or workshops
  • Crisis counseling
  • Proactive classroom guidance lessons to teach students skills for success
  • Recommend books and internet resources
  • Help parents understand child development issues
  • Help children and parents deal with transitions and moving