Schools are uniquely situated, and often designed, to play a significant role in not only the academic/cognitive development of children, but their socio-emotional development as well. In communities with few or limited resources, the school can play a particularly powerful role in enhancing children's development and well-being. In such contexts, school social workers have opportunities to play leading roles in enabling schools to maximize this potential for facilitating the positive development of children. As one of the few professionals in the building with cross-disciplinary training in human development, mental health and intervention, and group and systems theory, social workers are uniquely positioned to partner with school colleagues to help change school structures and practices such that they effectively support children's academic and social growth, as well as proactively address barriers to learning and development.
This course is designed to engage participants in thinking about how transforming the traditional role and practices of school social workers can enable schools to enhance elementary-aged children's academic and social development. It is organized around three essential questions: 1) How do schools (through structures, pedagogy, practices) serve to facilitate, as well as hinder, the positive academic, social, and emotional development of elementary school-aged children? 2) How do socio-cultural factors affect the supports that teachers, administrators, staff, and students need in order to enable schools to better develop and support the developmental competencies of children? and, 3) What will, skills, and knowledge are needed to transform the role of school social work in elementary school settings so that students are optimally supported in their academic and social development?
This course requires a classroom observation. If you are not in a school placement or have access to a school setting, you will receive support to find one, but it will be your responsibility to ensure that you do.