Counselling is the main activity of counselling services in education. As specified by the Organisation and financing of education Act (en .pdf), the counselling service pursues its activities at public kindergartens and schools. It provides counselling to basic school and upper secondary school students, apprentices, teachers, and parents. It work in partnerships with preschool teachers, teachers and managing in planning, monitoring and evaluating the development of the educational institution, as well as in pursuing educational activities; it provides career guidance and plays a part in developing and implementing individualised programmes for children with special needs. The activities of the counselling service are pursued by counselling staff, such as psychologists, pedagogue, social workers, and social, special and rehabilitation or inclusive pedagogues and defectologists. As to career guidance, the counselling staff teams up with the Employment service of Slovenia.
The programme guidelines for the counselling service developed especially for preschool education in kindergartens defined the basic content guidelines for the counselling service. The first aim of the counselling service in kindergartens and schools is to support all participants and the educational institutions for attaining basic and other systemic common and special educational goals. The basic educational goal and with it basic goals of counselling services at kindergartens and schools is to facilitate and fend for the optimal development of children regardless of their gender, social and cultural background, religion, nationality, and physical and mental constitution.
Counselling service (sl .pdf) supports children:
- for best possible development
- with issues related to admission to the pre-school institution, transfer from one group to another, transfer to another pre-school institution and transfer to school
- for solving problems with adapting and cooperating in a group, and
- for solving developmental problems.
Parents are included at all times, as they are important partners and co-creators in pre-school institutions.
Counselling service (sl .pdf):
- plans, coordinates and guides the enrolment and admission procedure of children, forms class groups and helps pupils to integrate into school life
- gives expert opinions on repeating or skipping grades and school transfers
- improves learning methods and techniques
- organizes learning environments, assists in providing text-books and school supplies, organizes and coordinates additional assistance for pupils whose parents are unable to offer help, etc.
Upper secondary schools
Counselling service (sl .pdf):
- offers advice and assistance to students upon enrolling in a school (informs, assists in application transmission and school transfer)
- monitors and offers advice to new students, students repeating a grade and students who were transferred from another school, and
- improves learning methods and techniques, informs about the latest findings in the field of learning, establishes personal learning styles, etc.; in each school year, at least 4 hours per class group should be devoted to counselling work.
The counselling centres provide school-related advice and assistance, too.
When working with children and pupils, the counselling staff adheres to the principle of welfare, voluntarism and trust, the principle of an integrated approach as well as the principle of cooperation in the counselling relationship. Furthermore, prevention and intervention by the counselling services at kindergartens and schools play an important role. They provide:
- direct assistance and / or organize assistance and counselling for children and pupils with educational and disciplinary problems
- counselling and preventive work with pupils in programmes to promote physical, personal and social development (e.g. programmes for building self-esteem, for developing more effective communication skills, for effectively dealing with problematic situations, training pupils in social skills, for relaxation, for the prevention of drug addiction, maltreatment and forms of bullying, etc.), and
- counselling procedure (with prior consent).
Psychological clinics in public health care centres provide:
- psychological prevention, which includes systematic examination of 3-year-olds (assessment of mental development and any potential developmental problems)
- psychological diagnosis of children and adolescents:
- assessment of the developmental characteristics of pre-school children and providing further assistance,
- assessment of intellectual and other abilities, attention, learning, concentration, memory, etc.
- assessment of emotional state
- assessment of personality traits
- assessment of potential psychopathology, and
- psychotherapeutic treatment of children and adolescents (counselling and behavioural cognitive therapy) and counselling for parents.
Professionals at three public counselling centres for children, young people and parents operating in the Republic of Slovenia help to resolve educational, emotional, upbringing, behavioural, psychosocial and psychiatric disorders and problems, and deal with psychological stress and trauma in children and adolescents. At the time of traumatic events (various accidents, physical, psychological or sexual violence, death or abandonment of a close person), a specialised team can offer psychological assistance to the affected individual or group.
The counselling service coordinates career orientation in basic and upper secondary schools. Career guidance covers the following activities:
- providing information
- counselling and education on educational choice and occupations
- evaluation of the intellectual capacity, abilities and talents of students
- placements’ inquiry
- feedback, and
- follow-up of the counselees.
The counselling service together with teachers and other professional staff at school provides students with access to information they need to decide on further education and choice of an occupation. The school libraries provide access to various information media. Other information points (panels, notice boards) are available to all. Pupils and students obtain information personally from school counselling staff and teachers. Schools organize and coordinates individual and group career counselling, lectures and discussions with external experts, representatives of various occupations, careers advisers of the Employment Service of Slovenia, as well as visits to companies and other employers, information days, education and career fairs, and so forth.
Pupils, parents and school staff can find exhaustive information on the web portal Moja izbira.si, which can be helpful in deciding on further educational and training paths.
The National Institute for Vocational Education and Training (CPI), Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (GZS), Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS), and others also provide information about occupations and vocational education.