ELSA Support

ELSA Emotional Literacy Support Assistance


Welcome to our school ELSA page. Here, parents and carers can access information about Emotional Literacy Support and its aims. We will use this page to post ideas, tips, and advice on how you can help your child such as calming techniques, empathy or self-esteem and provide links to useful websites and recommended books.

Gail Drew – (ELSA) Emotional Literacy Support Assistant for Chilton Foliat Primary

What is ELSA?

There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that affect their ability to engage with learning. ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by Educational Psychologists to help schools support the emotional needs of students in their care. Research has shown that children are more able learn and feel happier in school if their emotional needs are met.

To become an ELSA, I (Mrs Drew) received specialist training from educational psychologists to plan and deliver programmes to children who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. To maintain and develop my knowledge and skills, I attend regular professional supervision led by educational psychologists.

ELSA support is about developing a respectful relationship in which the young person is enabled to think about their situation without judgement or criticisism. Rather than teaching and telling them what to do, it is facilitating greater self-awareness in pupils and helping them to reach their own solutions and coping strategies. Sessions are designed to be fun using a range of activities such as games, therapeutic activities such as mindfulness, arts and crafts.

Most ELSA work happens on a 1:1 basis, but sometimes small group work may be more appropriate to support social and friendship skills. These groups will be made up of key children and ‘role models’. Sessions take place in our ELSA space within the Wise Owls room providing a calm and safe place in which each child feels supported and nurtured. 

ELSA aims to provide support for five areas of emotional needs:

Social skills


Friendships and relationships

Anger Management

Loss and change

How does ELSA work?

Pupils are referred by their class teacher, Mrs Turner and Ms Ingham (SENCO). At the beginning of each half term, I meet with Ms Ingham to discuss referrals and prioritise children needing additional support. Based on the aims of the programme, we plan sessions that facilitate the student to learn specific new skills or coping strategies that can help them manage social and emotional demands more effectively. Programmes last between 6 and 12 weeks and are divided into one session per week.

ELSA – Supporting not fixing

It is intended as a short-term intervention to facilitate the development of specific skills or coping strategies. Remember change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly. For pupils with complex or long-term needs, it is unrealistic to expect ELSA to resolve all their difficulties.

Training and development of ELSAs is an ongoing process and when issues are beyond the level of expertise that could reasonably be expected of an ELSA, the supervising psychologist or the educational psychologist that usually works with the school will be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.


This section will signpost you to useful websites and books.


The above website contains lots of advice, activities, videos and games to support feelings and worries relating to many issues such as schoolwork, relationships, and the current health crisis.



“What to Do When You Worry Too Much” is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6 -12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used in the treatment of generalised anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change. It includes a note to parents by psychologist and author Dawn Huebner, PhD.

This write-in book is an unworry toolkit, full of things to calm you down and places to put your worries. Activities include creating a worry box, making a mood grid and mindfulness activities such as colouring, doodling and mazes. Written with the help of a psychologist, there are links to websites for tips, advice and support too.

Anger management

A Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger presents a clear and effective approach to helping children and adults alike understand and deal constructively with children’s anger. Using easy to understand yet rarely taught skills for anger management, including how to teach communication of emotions. This accessible book, primarily created for ages 6 to thirteen, helps to create an awareness of anger, enabling children to relate creatively and harmoniously at critical stages in their development.