What is an ELSA?
ELSAs are Emotional Literacy Support Assistants who have had special training from educational psychologists to support the emotional development and well-being of children and young people in school. They have regular professional supervision from educational psychologists to guide them in their work. ELSAs provide the time and space for pupils to think about their personal circumstances and how they manage them.
Children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed. Children may, for example, need support in recognising and managing their emotions, raising their self-esteem, resilience or improving peer relationships. They may need help in recovering from significant loss or bereavement or in developing ways to resolve conflict effectively. ELSAs are trained to plan and deliver programmes of support to children who may be experiencing temporary or long-term additional emotional needs.
The role of the ELSA is to develop children and young people's:
As part of the SEND team at St Michael’s Primary School, I work closely with Mrs Juna, Inclusion Manager, and Miss Knight, SENCo. Together, with the help of Mr Kilbane and our teachers, we identify and prioritise children who would benefit from ELSA support and the areas in which to target the support.
Working mainly 1:1, but sometimes in small groups or pairs, I help children to develop the social and emotional skills they need to flourish in school, supporting them to understand and regulate their own emotions whilst also respecting the feelings of those around them. I deliver bespoke interventions tailored to the presenting situation or need.
What can ELSA help with?
There are a lot of emotional skills that ELSA can help with, including:
What happens in an ELSA session?
ELSA sessions will typically happen fortnightly across the length of 2 terms and last for half an hour. During the session I:
Where possible, sessions are scheduled at a regular time to help children to prepare and because the routine can also be beneficial for their emotional needs. At the end of an ELSA programme, children are reminded that it is OK to come to talk when they need to and I and their teachers continue to check-in on them. Further intervention towards new aims can be put in place at a later date if it becomes required.
If you have concerns about your child and their emotional needs, always in the first instance, raise this with your child’s class teacher.