School Counselor teaching her students

Being an effective school counselor requires that you’re equipped with all the right tools and resources.  

As advocates for the well-being of students, it’s important that when students walk into your office, they feel “at home.” 

This might include having bean bag chairs on the floor for the students to sit on or getting boxes and filling them with different sensory things. Whatever the resources, it’s important to ensure your office is well-equipped.  

Here are eight must-have resources that you should have in your office or classroom. 

School Counselor Desk full of toys

1. Toys and games  

The first resource on our list is toys and games. This may not seem like an important resource. However, toys play an essential role in helping you create a welcoming and warm ambiance in your office. The school counselor’s office should be a space where kids can let their guard down and be free. 

Not only can you use games in your lesson plans, but you can also use them in your office to help relieve stress.  

Games come in many forms, competitive and non-competitive, traditional versus modern and movement games. The type of games you will choose depend on you and your students. Some games are better for older kids, and some do wonders with small kiddos. 

Each type of game will offer a specific set of benefits, help lighten the mood, and make the counseling session more fun for you and the student.  

Some items you can include in your list of games if you don’t know where to start include: 

  • A sand tray box add in figurines from a yard sale 
  • Kinetic sand  
  • Jenga, you can find the traditional ones and one’s specific to school counselors  
  • Play-doh – you can use it both in the office and in classes as a reward or to help with a challenging or long lesson  
  • Chutes and ladders  
  • Mad Dragon card game  
  • Legos  

2. Manipulatives  

Manipulatives are an absolute must-have for school counselors! They bring learning to life through hands-on experiences that engage students deeper. These interactive resources make abstract concepts tangible and easier to understand. 

Imagine using emotion cards or facial expression manipulatives to help students express their feelings with confidence and clarity! 

But that’s not all – manipulatives also encourage problem-solving and decision-making skills. Whether solving puzzles or using decision-making boards, students get to think critically and develop strategies while having fun. And the best part?  

Manipulatives create a warm and trusting environment, fostering strong relationships between counselors and students. It’s like building a bridge of connection and understanding. 

3. Art supplies  

Art supplies can be a great addition to a counseling office. When students (both big and small)are engaged in art activities, they have an easier time opening up and exploring difficult topics. 

Moreover, art activities offer therapeutic benefits, promoting healing and resilience. Art activities can also be a calming strategy for many students. It frees their mind and helps them to feel more grounded.  

You first want to stick up on the basic items, paper, crayons, pencils, and beads. If you’re having issues with a list, you can find several already curated lists on shopping websites. All you do is add to the cart.  

Artist robes

4. Confidentiality signs  

Confidentiality signs are another must-have resource in your office. They create a safe space for the students to freely express themselves, knowing their privacy will be respected.  

These signs build trust and encourage open communication. By displaying visible reminders of confidentiality, counselors assure students that their personal information will be kept confidential unless consent is given. It establishes a sense of security and promotes a supportive environment. 

Confidentiality signs also clarify the boundaries of confidentiality, outlining exceptions when information may need to be shared for the student’s safety. By adhering to legal and ethical obligations, counselors uphold professional standards and prioritize student well-being. 

These signs play a significant role in fostering trust, encouraging students to seek help and support without hesitation. 

5. Books, loads and loads of books  

Books are a timeless resource that can help in almost any situation. School counselors can effectively approach and address emotional and behavioral issues in counseling sessions by incorporating Bibliotherapy.  

These books can address students’ specific challenges, such as anxiety, depression, anger, or self-esteem issues.  

Through guided discussions and activities centered around these books, counselors can help students gain insights, process emotions, and develop coping strategies. 

If your library is small, one way to expand it is by adding books on the specific situation. I.e., friendship, resilience, grief, bullying, and self-esteem. 

When students face a challenging situation, they can find solace and comfort through the different characters in the books.  

Additionally, you can use book tubes to separate the books into various categories; you choose a system that works for you ( by author or topic). This way, you can easily access the books when a student needs them without wasting time or lending a teacher one quickly. 

loads of books

6. A cart on wheels  

A cart on wheels is a lifesaver for an office, especially if your space is small. A mobile cart equipped with essential counseling materials allows school counselors to have easy access to resources during counseling sessions or when working with students in different locations within the school.  

For convenient and efficient use, the cart can be stocked with assessment tools, activity materials, and other resources. 

7. Prize Box 

Another must-have resource that you should have is a prize box. Not only will the students be more inclined to participate, but you can also build morale.  

A prize box with small incentives or rewards can be an effective resource for school counselors.  

It serves as a positive reinforcement tool to acknowledge and celebrate students’ achievements, progress, or efforts. The prize box can contain stickers, small toys, or certificates of recognition, motivating and encouraging students. 

8. A planner /agenda  

Another resource that can easily pass for a nice-to-have but is a must-have is a planner/agenda.  

If you don’t already have a planner, consider getting one. A planner can be a literal lifesaver when utilized correctly.  

You can use your planner to record anything. Have several parent phone calls you need to schedule between your lessons; jot them down in your planner.  You can use your planner to schedule meetings with the administration or other appointments. 

Children holding a circular clot above head

Bottom line: School Counselor Office 

With the right resources in your office, you can create a calming and welcoming atmosphere where students thrive. Having the basics like toys, games, art supplies, and books will help ensure that each session you have is successful.

You can also easily transition from one task to another without scrambling. Investing in the right school counseling office resources pays off by creating a positive environment for you and the students who pass through your doors.

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