What is ELSA?
There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning, and some will require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others.
ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed.
Mrs Bell (ELSA for KS1) Mrs Caldwell and Mrs Nightingill are our school Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs for KS2) working with either small groups of children or individuals to support them in developing their emotional literacy. This means understanding and implementing strategies to improve the way that they think and feel, usually in relation to themselves.
Areas that our ELSAs can support can include:
- Recognising emotions
- Social skills
- Friendship skills
- Anger management
- Loss and bereavement.
How does ELSA work?
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders or on occasion the SENCo. Every week there is a meeting amongst our Inclusion Team, to discuss the referral forms and to identify and prioritise which children require a programme for the next 6-8 weeks. With the programme aims in mind we then plan support sessions to facilitate the pupil in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively.
Each session lasts from 30 - 45 minutes once a week.
Supporting - not fixing
Remember, ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems. What we can do is provide emotional support. We aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where they are able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings.
It needs to be appreciated that change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly and is dependent upon the context and complexity of the presenting issues. For children with complex or long-term needs it is unrealistic to expect ELSA intervention to resolve all their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need. Training and development of ELSAs is an ongoing process and wisdom is required to recognise when issues are beyond the level of expertise that could reasonably be expected of