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  • Mrs Alison Ruff
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ELSA – Emotional Literacy Support

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 Congerstone Primary Miss Coombes.  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, we use a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft.

 

In ELSA we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:

Recognising emotions
Self-esteem
Social skills
Friendship skills

   Anger management
Loss and bereavement

 

How does ELSA work?

Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders or on occasion the SENCo.  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.

 

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.

There is a great website full of information and a parent section with resources suitable for parents to use: www.elsa-support.co.uk