Education Specialist (EdS)
Semester of Degree Completion
Paul D. Overton
The field study project was undertaken to study the role of the elementary guidance counselor and to develop a workable K-3 guidance program. Results would show the importance of guidance at the elementary level and the counselor's role within the total program.
The role of the elementary counselor was studied through a review of available literature. In addition, a survey of some central Illinois elementary guidance counselors was conducted to study elementary guidance programs already in existence and the role of the counselor within that program. Goals and a job description for an elementary guidance program were developed and the status of mandated elementary counseling in Illinois explored through interviews and journal articles.
The role of the developmental elementary counselor has not changed drastically from the early programs of the fifties and sixties and seems to be that of counselor, consultant, and coordinator. Although programs are preventative and developmental in nature, the counselor will still deal with crisis intervention and remedial issues, attempting to fulfill the school's obligation to mainstream students to develop their potential. There may be more emphasis today on areas such as substance abuse and sexual abuse prevention programs.
Counselors in central Illinois seem to consider individual counseling as a major element of the guidance program along with classroom guidance presentations and small group discussions while also serving in consulting and coordinating capacities.
Apparently there is no current push within state professional organizations for mandated school counseling either at the elementary or secondary school level. Progress toward this goal seems unlikely with projected state budget cuts. School counseling does not seem to be adequately promoted within Illinois State Board of Education structure.
A design for a K-3 guidance along with goals and a general job description were developed which would hopefully be helpful to counselors setting up or revising an elementary guidance program.
Snider, Gwyneth James, "Organization of a K-3 Guidance Program" (1992). Masters Theses. 2170.