Why School Counselors?

Many parents are surprised to learn that all schools in Kittery have at least one full-time school counselor.  Elementary school counselors are much more common today than they were when many parents were in school, leaving many parents wondering what the job entails. The goal of the Mitchell School Guidance Program is to reach out to all students. Through classroom lessons, small discussion groups, and individual counseling we address numerous issues, including understanding of self and others, coping strategies, personal safety, peer relationships, effective social skills, communication, self-esteem, family issues, personal adjustment, and conflict resolution.  Elementary school is a time when students are developing attitudes concerning school, self, peers, social groups, and family.  The guidance program is developmental and comprehensive with an emphasis on prevention.  If we wait until children are in middle or high school to begin to address problems, we lose the opportunity to help them achieve their full potential.  

Classroom Activities:  We teach classroom lessons on friendship, empathy, bully prevention, conflict resolution, and personal body safety.
Small Group Activities:  Throughout the year we invite students to participate in a "Lunch Bunch" group which naturally meets during lunchtime. We spend our time eating lunch, playing games, reading stories, drawing pictures, and most importantly having fun. The games and activities are designed to help the children develop social skills, learn to understand others' views and experiences, and deal with areas that may be causing difficulty for them. Students love having lunch in my room and we're hoping to offer Lunch Bunch to all students at Mitchell.  

Meeting with students individually:  Please do not be alarmed if your child comes home and reports to you that they came to visit with either of us--we meet with students frequently, most often concerning very normal childhood issues such as how to resolve a conflict with a friend, how to handle difficult feelings in appropriate ways, or just to give them time to cool off during an emotional day. If a situation arises that is of concern we will contact you so that we can work together to find a solution. Both of us tend to use play with children because play is the child's language of self-expression. Play enables children to express themselves in a way that reduces tension and anxiety, and thus allows children to gain control over their lives.   

Communication between home and school is crucial to your child's success and we encourage you to call us or stop in with any questions or concerns that you may have about your child or our school counseling services at any point throughout the year. Please let your child's teacher or one of us know if your family is undergoing any dramatic changes (new baby, death, illness, divorce, etc.) so that we can provide the best support possible. If for any reason we have concerns about your child we will contact you to discuss the situation and we can work together to find a solution.

More information from the American School Counselor Association