ELS – Emotional Literacy Support
What is ELSA?
ELSA (emotional literacy support assistant) 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. This is in line with our commitment to ensure that children can be empowered so they can flourish and 'live life in all its fullness'
Following on from the time we had an embedded Educational Psychology service in school, we have now continued this work in ensuring that we have a member of staff trained to continue this good work. Miss Passingham is now a qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant having received training by Educational Psychologists to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. The majority of ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in the areas of social and friendship skills. Sessions are fun, we use a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft. ELSA sessions take place in a small room which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.
In ELSA we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:
Loss and bereavement
How does ELSA work?
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher. Every half term
Miss Passingham and Mrs Howell meet to discuss any referral forms completed by teachers and to identify and prioritise which children require a weekly programme for the next 6-8 weeks. With the programme aims in mind support sessions are then planned to facilitate the pupil in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively.
Supporting - not fixing
It is important to remember, that ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems, but what ELSAs can do is to provide emotional support. It is our primary 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 an ELSA. The Educational Psychologist that works with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.
If you feel your child would need support in this way, then please do contact your child's class teacher in the first instance so we can see what support we can offer.
These are some of the comments from the children who have already received support:
"It`s good because it teaches you how not to lose your temper and not to hurt other people. I used to tell lots of fibs too, now I really try not to."
"It helps you to keep calm when you are feeling really angry. I really like talking to Miss Passingham. I can`t always talk to other people so it`s good."
"I enjoyed it and it helped me lots. I can manage my anger. I have learned to walk away from tricky situations. Playing the games and drawing was fun."