Positive adjustment to first grade despite divorce : lessons for school psychologists

09 Jan 2019

Positive adjustment to first grade is an important milestone in children’s lives. Yet, it is sometimes further complicated by additional challenges such as parental divorce. Drawing on a social ecological perspective we explored how the systems rooted in social ecologies enable children’s resilience when their parents are divorced so as to result in their coping well with adjusting to first grade. We used a single instrumental case study that involved visual methodologies to uncover lessons from the story of a first grader whose parents divorced but who continued to adjust well to first grade. Our findings suggest leverage points for school psychologists (SPs) who wish to champion the resilience of first graders who are adjusting to formal school as well as their parents’ divorce. SPs can intervene by supporting the first grader’s processes of agency and meaning making; by working systemically to engage systems of support; and by mobilizing systems with task-sharing.