Hello and welcome to our school ELSA page!
We are pleased to be able to share information with parents about Emotional Literacy Support on the school website. On this page we aim to post ideas and helpful advice on how you can help your child, for example in areas such as empathy and self-esteem, or perhaps to pick up some tips about calming techniques. Parents and carers will be able to find out about recommended books which may be useful as well as links to other websites for some self-help at home.
Mrs Lisa Clark, West Byfleet Infant School ELSA.
What is an 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. Emotional literacy is about understanding and coping with the feelings of ourselves and others. It involves developing high self-esteem and creating positive interactions with other people. Being emotionally literate helps children to focus better on their learning and has a positive impact on their general happiness and well-being.
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. ELSAs are specialist members of staff with a wealth of experience of working with children.
The majority of ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially when the focus is on social and friendship skills.
Sessions are fun and we use a range of activities including games, role-play with puppets, activity sheets or arts and craft. ELSA sessions will take place in our very own 'Sunshine room’ which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.
In our ELSA sessions we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs including:
How does ELSA work?
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, our SENDCo, Mrs Purulak or our Family Support Worker, Mrs Claire Clark. We then meet to discuss the referrals in order to identify and prioritise which children require ELSA support.
Our programme of ELSA support runs for 6-8 sessions which last between 20 and 30 minutes during the school day. The sessions are not intended to fix children’s problems, but are a means of supporting a child through a situation and a way of encouraging them to begin to open up and talk and to learn strategies to deal with their emotions.
An ELSA will use counselling skills, including active listening, problem clarification and open questions in order to enable a child to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
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.
So what do the children think?!
On completion of their ELSA programmes, we ask the children to reflect on their experiences and to kindly leave us some feedback. Here are some of the lovely comments we receive: