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.
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.
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:
Friendships and relationships
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.
PARENTS SELF-HELP – SEE MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING TAB