Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)
Introduction to ELSA
What is an ELSA?
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.
An ELSA is a specialist teaching assistant with a wealth of experience of working with children. ELSAs are trained and regularly supervised by the Educational Psychologists in Oxfordshire. An ELSA is a warm and caring person who wants to help your child feel happy in school and to reach their potential educationally. Their aim is to remove the barriers to learning and to have happy children in school and at home.
ELSAs help children and young people learn to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. They provide the time and space for pupils to think about their personal circumstances and how they manage them.
It was designed to build the capacity of schools to support the emotional needs of their pupils from within their own resources.
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. We can't necessarily fix their problems but we CAN provide emotional support. 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 additional support is needed, we will work with our families to organise additional support from other agencies.
In ELSA we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:
- recognising and understanding emotions
- building self esteem
- social skills
- friendship skills
- anger and behaviour management
- loss and bereavement
- relaxation techniques
- transition / change
Teaching children skills to help them deal with their emotions.
How to refer a child for ELSA support
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, senior leaders or on occasion the SENDCo. With referral forms and discussing with teachers we will 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.
A child can also be referred by emailing: email@example.com
Each session lasts from 30-45 minutes, once a week. Each session includes time to talk (emotional check-in), a planned main activity which will be interactive and may include a game, followed by some quiet, relaxation time.
ELSA sessions will vary from 1-2-1’s to Nurture Groups.
Depending on the child's needs, one off sessions can also be arranged as well as weekly check- ins rather than a programme of sessions.
Supporting - not fixing
Remember, ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems. What they do is provide emotional support to those who need it. They aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where children are able to share honestly, their thoughts and feelings.
For children with complex or long term needs it is unrealistic to expect ELSA intervention to resolve all of their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need.
Meet Our ELSA
Before joining Trinity CE Primary School, I spent years working with teams encouraging effective communication, conflict management, team building, and confidence within yourself.
With my ELSA training I am looking forward to helping children at Trinity get the most of each day.
I started work at Trinity CE Primary School before Christmas 2017 and have been a TA for year 5 & 6 ever since, enjoying every minute, working with lovely children and great teachers. I have also been lucky enough to be involved in all the year 5 and 6 productions, residential trips and art exhibitions.The best part of my job is knowing that I am supporting both the teachers and children, hopefully helping to make school an enjoyable experience. I love encouraging the children to be passionate about their strengths, whether it’s maths, writing, art or sports, it’s so rewarding to see children feeling proud about the work they are doing.
I am local to Henley and have two children at this school. I have a background in Effective Communication, Art, Theatrical Makeup and Costume Design, hence I love being involved in the creative aspects of school life (and dressing up when we have a theme!).