There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning. 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.
We are lucky enough to have one qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant at North Curry C of E Primary School. Ms Harris is the Senior Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead and has been trained 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, roleplay with puppets or arts and craft. ELSA sessions take place in our very own ‘Heron’ 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:
- Recognising emotions
- Social skills
- Friendship skills
- Management of anger
- Loss and bereavement
Since the beginning of this academic year we have been very busy in our ELSA sessions. In emotional literacy we have been exploring the following themes:
- Being me
- Feeling welcome
- Right to Learn
How does ELSA work?
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their parents/carers, Class Teacher, Senior Leaders or the SENDCo. 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.
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.
If you feel that your child needs ELSA support, please contact Ms Harris at the school.