Guidance Counseling and Parental Involvement

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Guidance Counseling and Parental Involvement

The elementary school counseling and guidance program is part of the total school program and complements learning in the classroom. It is child-centered, preventive, and developmental. The program encourages students’ social, emotional, and personal growth at each stage of their development. The purpose of counseling with students, parents, and teachers is to help students maximize their potential. The elementary school counselor also conducts guidance lessons; consults with parents, teachers, and other professionals; and coordinates student services in the school (Gartner, Larson, & Allen, 1995). Counseling and guidance programs provides elementary students with assistance in: understanding self and developing a positive self-image, showing respect for the feelings of others, understanding the decision-making process, developing effective study skills, being prepared to make the transition to the intermediate school, and gaining an understanding of the world of work (Finney & Maloney, 1985; McCullough, 1995; Paloma & Pendelton, 1991).

Counseling is conducted with students and parents individually and in small groups when requested and determined appropriate. It is short-term, voluntary, and confidential.

Parental permission is obtained prior to any extended individual or group counseling. Students are seen by the counselor when: parents request and indicate a need and desire that the counselor meet with their children, students request counseling, and teachers, administrators, or other school staff refer the student. Parents are informed of counseling groups for children and adults. Group counseling sessions for children focus on building self-esteem, learning how to make or keep friends, developing good study habits, improving communication skills, preparing for the intermediate school, and coping with changing family situations. Topics for parent groups include child-rearing concerns, child development, and methods parents may use to help children experience healthy development and success in school (Aldridge, 1991; Friedman & Benson, 1997).

The elementary school guidance counselor works with parents through individual consultation, joint consultation with the children’s teachers, and parents discussion groups. In these ways the counselor assist parents to: understand their children’s progress in school, select strategies to motivate their children, develop realistic goals with their children, become actively involved in their children’s school life, and understand the educational program K-12 (Byrd, 1988, p. 29). The counselor may lead parent education and discussion groups and serves as a resource when parents study or discuss child-related issues. The counselor consults with parents to identify students with special abilities and/or needs. In this capacity the counselor helps parents understand the services available from other school staff such as the school psychologists, social worker, and resource teachers.
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