We are pleased to be able to share information with parents about Emotional Literacy Support on the school website.
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 lucky enough to have a qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant at Measham Primary School. 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 ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis and in small groups.
Sessions are fun and positive, we use a range of activities such as: games, role-play, drawing and circle time. ELSA sessions take place in our very own 'ELSA 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:
How does ELSA work?
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders or on occasion the SENCo. The ELSA assistant will plan and support pupils in developing new skills and coping strategies. These allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively. They carry out follow up sessions with the child to see how their emotional well-being is.
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. 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.
The ELSA model developed in Leicestershire
ELSAs are Learning Support Assistants who receive six days of additional training from educational psychologists on aspects of emotional literacy including emotional awareness, self-esteem, anger management, social and friendship skills, social communication difficulties, loss, bereavement and family break-up. ELSAs receive supervision from educational psychologists. Our school may also ask an educational psychologist working with their school to advise the ELSA on how to support a pupil for whom there is particular concern.
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