Early Childhood Counseling Centers

As a former Kindergarten teacher, I often get asked by other Elementary School Counselors as what to "do" with Early Childhood students.  I get it.  There's no "down time" or "independent work" in Early Childhood.  They are either busy or wanting to be busy during lessons.  I personally spend 45 minutes twice each month in my Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade classes.  Here's how I make it work:

The first lesson I give surrounds a main topic or character trait we are focusing on.  This year's lessons were on topics such as optimism and mindfulness.  These lessons are pretty typical.  We read a book, maybe watch a coordinating video clip, discuss the topic, do an activity to allow for self-reflection, and then have time to share out to the group.

The second time I come, we do Center rotations -- often connected to that same topic.  This year I did Center rotations on topics such as Feelings and Self-Management.  The topics I selected for Center Rotations were ones that my students were likely familiar with and had some contextual prior knowledge of and were ready for more hands-on practice on the topics.

Originally, I had only planned on doing the Center Rotations with my Kindergarten classes.  In early August, it was looking like we were going to have VERY large class sizes and this was going to be my contribution to helping these students with Social Skills.  Luckily, our Principal was able to hire a 6th teacher, but I still wanted to try this out.

The format of the Center Rotation visit was as follows:

  1. Read a book about the topic
  2. Discuss the topic (in a shorter time span than I do in a regular lesson)
  3. Explain all of the Rotations
  4. Rotate
  5. Allow for reflection/time to clean up

I used paper baskets from Really Good Stuff to easily transport my materials from class to class and back to my office.  This was also helpful in the actual rotation.  

In each of the Center Rotation sessions, the rotations themselves follow a similar format (for example, there's a puzzle rotation in each one, a play doh rotation in each one...).  This is helpful in Early Childhood for several reasons: the students know what is expected and are able to get started on the activity in a more timely manner AND as the instructor, you can spend more time floating, rather than on explaining or answering questions.

I would definitely recommend trying out Center Rotations in your Counseling Program.  My students LOVED it and were always asking when the next time they were going to be doing Centers would be.  

You can find all of my Center Rotations in a Big Bundle here:

Happy rotating!

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