Union Elementary School Classroom Guidance Program Overview
GOAL: The classroom guidance program is a preventative program to promote, practice and reinforce kindness skills in the school, home and community settings for grades K-6.
The 3 main areas focused on are self-control, self-respect and self-confidence.
The Pillars of Character Education Model is also followed. All classroom lessons usually include a book and/or activity. Students are encouraged to participate in discussions but never forced.
Pillars of Character Education include:
- Respect for others
- Responsibility for self and others
- Communication – We discuss ways to communicate effectively and ways that are ineffective through words, facial expressions, body movement (kicking, hitting, etc.) and tone of voice
I also work on Conflict Resolution skills. We primarily use examples based on peer relationships, school situations and siblings. I have a Peace Path that lists the steps to solving problems. Students take turns actually walking down the peace path with made-up conflicts generated by myself or students that are age appropriate. The students generate solutions to the problems and discuss consequences of actions.
I also discuss Bullying. I use many books, activities and discussions. We talk about what a bully is, examples of what a bully does to be mean and ways to stop bullying without making the situation worse.
I discuss manners by using books, activities and discussions.
I discuss the importance of honesty using books and activities. We determine the differences between a “tell” and a “tattle” by playing games and using real life examples usually generated by the students.
We discuss the differences between all of us and learn ways to be accepting of them. I use books and have activities for this subject. The differences I focus on are finding out all the things that make us who we are. I ask the students to share what is really cool about them and how that makes them different. I do not focus on race, lifestyles, weight, etc. If a student chooses that for themselves, that is fine but I gear the differences to talents, pets, likes and dislikes.
I discuss building bridges which are relationships/connections with others. We discuss what materials are necessary to build strong bridges. Trust, honesty, responsibility, caring, teamwork, compassion, fairness, helpfulness, love, understanding, patience, etc. Once we know the materials, then we talk about what the materials really do and how they work. I focus a lot on friendships, too.
I discuss all the different feelings that we experience and stress it is ok to have all these different feelings including but not limited to anger, happiness, sadness, frustration, jealousy, etc. We talk about how to deal with anger and that anger and being mad is ok but being mean is not ok. We talk a lot about anger management skills and conflict resolution. The feeling situations we discuss are school, social and sibling related. Private situations are not discussed in the classroom. Any private matter mentioned would not be allowed to continue and discussed in private only with a caregiver notified.
I utilize a lot of literature in my classroom lessons when possible. I choose books based on their reputation, my own favorites, series geared toward character education, and referrals.
In summary, activities are generated by me or through activity books based on character education and child development and the American Counselor’s Association website as well as many other resources. At times, the classroom teacher will request a particular topic such as tattling, teasing, rumors, listening skills, etc. for me to discuss.
If at anytime a child makes a statement that is private in nature, I immediately stop that conversation and explain that it will be discussed in private with me at another time. If the statement made is a claim that the child is being hurt by someone, threatening to hurt themselves or others, and then I take immediate action and call that child’s caregiver. PA state law requires that all educators in a school setting not just counselors must follow that same protocol as a mandatory reporter. Other topics brought up will include contacting the caregiver at the counselor’s discretion.
I always welcome parent involvement and input. My program can only be successful with the support from the community. The bridge between home and school is very important and I am always striving to strengthen it whenever possible.
The Lunch Bunch Program is where I invite students to have lunch with me to discuss the same topics I just described on page 1 and 2 but in a small group setting. Your child’s participation in these groups is completely voluntary.
There are at times when I have referrals made by either the parent or teacher for a particular problem or situation. At that time, I would organize a closed group of students with similar situations and gear our discussions toward that topic. This group also requires parent permission. Individual counseling is also conducted with parent permission.