What to look for in a school counsellor?
A good school counsellor listens, is empathic, patient, and flexible. They can cope with emotional situations and take their time building strong relationships with both students and teachers. Throughout the process, the counsellors help students get to know themselves better and find effective solutions to their day-to-day problems. In a meta-analysis of school counselling outcome research covering 117 studies and 16, 296 students, it was found that students who participated in school counselling interventions improved significantly more than their peers who did not receive the interventions. Another study found that kids attending schools with strong counselling programs reported a higher level of academic achievement, a greater sense of happiness, safety and security at their school, and fewer problems with socializing and interpersonal relationships.
School counselling in Primary School
Here at LCIS, the counselling program works on the individual, group, and school-wide level. In Primary, the counsellor meets one-on-one with kids who are having social or emotional difficulties or going through difficult life transitions. The counsellor supports the child and works with them to find tools that will help them navigate the issues they are facing. In groups, the counsellor provides social support, helping children express themselves, interact together in a peaceful way, and make new friends. On the school-wide level, alongside the pastoral and PSHE programs, the counsellor introduces evidence-based themes, information, and practices that provide the children with tools contributing to their long-term health and wellbeing. At the core of it, the counselling program serves to instil in the children a belief in themselves and their abilities, and an overall sense of happiness and wellbeing. We aim to have the children see the positives in themselves, others, and their lives.
How is my child’s confidentiality protected?
Protecting confidentiality significantly enhances a counsellor’s ability to build a safe, therapeutic relationship and establish trust with a student, therefore, all interactions with our school counsellors, including the content of meetings, progress in counselling and all records, are kept strictly confidential, and no record of counselling is kept in an academic or educational file. In consultation with the student and their family, the counsellor may provide teachers and parents with strategies to use both at home and at school to help students cope with their feelings. Confidentiality is always maintained unless the safety of the student or others are at risk. In this case, a report will be submitted to the school's designated safeguarding officer.
How can parents support this work at home?
- Help children discover their interests and passions. Talk to them about they are doing, reading, watching, and learning. What do they love? What are they interested in? What are they good at outside of academia? Help them cultivate it. Expose them to different experiences related to their interests and make it an adventure. And demonstrate your own interests and passions to them!
- Special Time. Set out 15 minutes every day to just be with the child. Put away all phones and distractions and let them lead the play. Let them know that this is their special time, and make sure it is scheduled in and they know when it is. Over time this leads to a stronger connection and opens up the space for children to discuss any worries or issues they might be having.
- Be supportive and encouraging. Focus on progress and not perfection. Have reasonable expectations for the child and be supportive and encouraging when they struggle or fail. Help them focus on the process instead of the goal. Show them your own mistakes and how much more you’ve learned from your mistakes than from achieving the goal. Remind them of the power of “YET.” Before you knew how to do something, you didn’t know how to do it YET.