8 Places for the School Counselor to Be on the First Days of School

The first days of school can be overwhelming -- for everyone.   I remember coming into counseling after being in the classroom, I didn't really know WHERE to go on the first days of school.

Here are 8 places the School Counselor can be on the first days of school:

  1. The Entry Ways: my morning duty each morning is greeting everyone as they come into our building.  On the first days of school, I'm directing traffic to classrooms (we allow parents to walk their children down on the first few days of school) and answering questions to help keep the main office from getting too congested. 
  2. Kindergarten Hall: as soon as the dust has settled from arrivals, I head down to our Kindergarten classrooms (PreK is on another campus and this coming school year, Kindergarten will be there too).  I help parents move out, console any student that needs an extra hug, and start introducing myself to new students. 
  3. In and Out of Classrooms: without being distracting, I try to pop in every classroom on the first few days of school.  I'm there to give a wave, hug old friends, and even give the teacher a minute break if their bladders haven't yet adjusted to being back to school.  I save any lessons for my "Meet the Counselor Week" when I do a mini-lesson in every classroom and my first round of character education lessons start in September. 
  4. The Cafeteria: I have 2 lunch duties already, but I always give a little extra of my time in the Cafeteria to help the process.  We've all slept since May and many need a refresher on the procedures - especially if their classes didn't practice that morning. 
  5. The Playground: it can never hurt to have another adult out on the playground and it's never too early to get started checking in on friendships and social skills!  I don't spend a ton of time on the playground during the first days of school, but I try to pop in to every recess at least once during the first week. 
  6. Your Office: you'll have emails and phone calls to return, plus lessons to start to plan and organize.  I also run a few programs in my school including our 4th Grade STARS -- a leadership program for morning volunteers, so I spend time organizing this at the beginning of the year.  I also do a "new student" small group during the 1st month of school, so I get with our Registrar to ensure I've including every new student.  Before school begins, I try to have my office/classroom and any hallway bulletin boards I manage ready to go -- because if I wait to do them until school starts, they will never get done.
  7. The Main Office: throughout the school year, I check in with the main office secretaries nearly every day to see if they need anything from me.  These ladies rarely get any sort of break and are the true lifeline of our school!  On the first days of school, I check in to see if there's anything I need to know about students -- including custody changes or home life situations.  
  8. Dismissal: again, my afternoon duty is the same as my morning duty -- in the foyer of our building.  I'm also a fill-in for car duty if any teacher is unavailable.  Like the playground, the more adults the better during dismissal!  It's a great opportunity to get to know students and families.  

When I had an office in the Main Office, I had a flower on my door that told everyone where I was throughout the day.  I also try to bring my phone with me wherever I go.

Any place that you spend time on the first days that I missed?  

I hope this gives you a peek into my first days of school as the Counselor and helps you know where to go!