Social Emotional Learning
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends a 250 : 1 student-to-counselor ratio, and the two Notre Dame class counselors currently average 208 : 1. In the spring of 2018, Notre Dame prioritized the expansion of an additional position in the Counselors’ Office–two class counselors and a director–in order to better serve students. This has allowed the counseling team to continue to prioritize holistic support of student wellness and mental health.
School Counselors help students with their social, emotional well-being alongside their mental and physical health. Counselors provide Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons as a part of the comprehensive counseling program. SEL is a method of promoting holistic child development by teaching students skills such as self-regulation, persistence, empathy, self-awareness, and mindfulness. The Notre Dame class counselors provide this in individual and group sessions.
Outside of the office, counselors…
- Invite speakers to talk about mental health topics (anxiety, coping skills, suicide prevention, etc.)
- Host informal counselor sit-downs with the students for stress relief activities, affirmation crafts and exercises, or even just “Candy with the Counselors” for support before finals week.
- Facilitate classroom lessons, discussion and activities about topics like stress, mental health awareness, goals/values, strengths/weaknesses, and more.
- Spread awareness around the stigma of mental health with small things like posters in our hallways and stickers for the students in our office.
In the office, counselors…
- Have conversations showing empathy and support to help guide students to their own answers.
- Provide resources like journals, guided meditations, mental worksheet activities, fidgets, coloring, sandbox expressions, and more.
- Provide a safe space for students to just be and feel whatever is interrupting their social and emotional self.
- Ensure that each student has one 1 : 1 session annually in addition to group visits in the classroom. Our role as school counselors is to help guide students to the answers and support they are seeking through brief in-office counseling, assistance with forming healthy coping skills, and referral to community resources and long term therapy/services.