An ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) is a member of Staff who is trained to support children in the development of their emotional literacy.
What is emotional literacy?
. Understanding and coping with the feelings about ourselves and others
. Developing high self-esteem and positive interactions with others
. Being emotionally literate helps children focus better on their learning
There will always be children in schools facing life challenges that can detract from their ability to engage with learning, some require greater support than others to increase their emotional literacy. ELSA is an initiative designed and supported by Educational Psychologists. It recognises that children are happier and learn better if their emotional and social needs are being met.
Some of the areas the ELSA may work on:
. Recognising emotions
. Social skills
. Friendship skills
. Anger management
. Loss and bereavement
How does the ELSA work?
. A regular slot during the school week of around 30 -45 minutes
. Sessions may be on a one off basis
. Sessions can be individual or in small groups and are tailored to the child's individual needs
. Sessions are fun and might include role play, board games, arts and crafts and stories
. They include time to talk
. A pupils progress will be reviewed
ELSA sessions take place in the 'Acer Base' which provides a calm and relaxing space where the children can explore their emotions and feelings in a safe and caring environment ensuring each child feels supported and nurtured.
As a parent/carer how can you help?
If you have any concerns about your child's emotional wellbeing, please speak to your child's class teacher who will be able to offer advice and assistance in the first instance.
Children are usually referred to ELSA by their class teacher, however Mrs Harris also works closely with Miss Hardy our School SENCO to identify children that would benefit from ELSA intervention.
Supporting not fixing
It needs to be appreciated that an ELSA's job is to support the children not to fix their problems, to provide them with the skills they need which can then be transferred into their school and home life. It also needs to be recognised that change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly and is dependent upon the complexity of the presenting difficulties.
Please find below some useful links and suggested books to help your child's emotional wellbeing
Do you have an anxious child?
A useful link for guidance on helping your child overcome anxiety https://copingskillsforkids.com/calming-anxiety
Anger is not a negative emotion we just need to tame it!
Help with those "hot feelings" - some tips and information about managing anger in children http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/praise-discipline/anger-management-children
Is your child having problems with self-esteem? This link gives some useful advice to parents
Supporting bereaved children and young people http://childbereavementuk.org
We have one ELSA lead in school who works across all key stages.