ELSA - Emotional Literacy Support Assistance
Hello and welcome to our school ELSA page!
We are so pleased to be able to share information with parents and carers about
Emotional Literacy Support on our school website.
On this page we plan to post ideas and helpful advice about how you can help your child in areas such as empathy, self esteem, coping with anxiety or anger management.
We will also post recommendations for books which you may find useful, and links to other websites for some self-help at home.
Please feel free to contact either of us for further information.
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. 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 so lucky to have two fully qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistants at St George’s. They have 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 and we use a range of activities such as games, role-play with puppets, or arts and craft. Our ELSA sessions take place in the ‘Rainforest', which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.
We also open the 'Rainforest' at lunchtimes for vulnerable children, who sometimes find the playground too overwhelming and prefer a safe, quiet place where adults are on hand to offer support and advice.
In ELSA sessions we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:
Social and Friendship Skills
Social communication difficulties
Loss, bereavement and family break up
How does ELSA work?
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders, the SENDCo or sometimes the family GP or other professionals, such as social workers. The ELSAs then plan support sessions - based on the specific area of need - to help the pupil to develop new skills and coping strategies that will allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively.
Supporting - not fixing
Remember, ELSAs are not here to fix children's problems. However, what they can do is provide emotional support, and establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil in order to provide a safe 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 difficulties; however, support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need(s). 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 linked with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.