Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)
Emotional Literacy Support at Virginia Primary School
How does ELSA work?
Children are referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, senior leader or SENDCo or by parent referral. We then identify and prioritise which children require a weekly programme or if more appropriate put supported strategies in place within a class setting. ELSA programmes run for 6-12 weeks. With the programme set we then plan support sessions to facilitate the pupil in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to mange social and emotional demands m ore effectively.
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.
Emily is our school ELSA and she does a lot of work supporting children across the school in lots of different ways. The ELSA blog documents the different ways we can support our mental health and celebrates the different occasions we raise awareness about our mental wellbeing throughout the school year.
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. Emily is our qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant at Virginia.
She has 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 majority of work is delivered on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in areas of social and friendships skills. ELSA sessions take place in a section of our Learning Space ( named The Space) 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:
- recognising and understanding emotions
- building self esteem
- social skills
- friendship skills
- anger and behaviour management
- Loss and bereavement
- relaxation techniques
- transition/ change
As well as valuing our children’s education (home learning blog) we also value their wellbeing, as we recognise that children learn better and are happier if their emotional needs are met :)
At some time in our lives we all experience worries and at VPS we recognise the need to support our children through these difficult times.
If you would like to contact me (parents/carers or children) you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as soon as I can with the relevant advice/support/resource.
If you are concerned about the mental health or wellbeing of your child please discuss you concerns initially with your child's class teacher.
What to do if I am a young person who wants to speak to someone about their worries at school:
- Speak to your class teacher/TA
- Be honest about how you feel during the Zones of Regulation Check In's/ Circle Time
- If you are not confident to speak to the teachers/TA's - maybe ask your parents to speak to us.
- Request to see Emily (ELSA)
- Talk to a trusted friend/adult
-Make a SPACE slip (Year 5/6)
We will do everything we can to make sure you feel seen, heard and safe.
What to do if I am a parent who is concerned about their child's mental health?
- Speak to the class teacher or member of SLT at home time/morning
- Call the office to arrange a meeting with class teacher/SLT
Refer child to ELSA (speak to class teacher)
We will do all we can to make sure you are also seen, heard and feel safe.
If you are a young person who needs immediate support with your mental health or a parent/guardian who may have concerns about your child please see the amazing services below that could be helpful! :)
Action for Childrenactionforchildren.org.uk
Charity supporting children, young people and their families across England.
Anxiety UK03444 775 774 (helpline)
07537 416 905 (text)
Advice and support for people living with anxiety.
Beat0808 801 0711 (youthline)
0808 801 0811 (studentline)
Under 18s helpline, webchat and online support groups for people with eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.
Childline 0800 1111
Support for children and young people in the UK, including a free helpline and 1-2-1 online chats with counsellors.
Hope Again0808 808 1677
Support for young people when someone dies.
Hub of Hope hubofhope.co.uk
A national database of mental health charities and organisations from across Britain who offer mental health advice and support.
Counsellors available until 10pm every day. Free, safe and anonymous online counselling for young people. Check whether this is offered in your area.
Me and My Mindmeandmymind.nhs.uk
Advice and support for young people struggling with unusual experiences, such as hearing voices.
Mencap0808 808 1111 (Learning Disability Helpline)
Information and advice for people with a learning disability, their families and carers. Services include an online community.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)0800 800 5000 (for adults concerned about a child)
0800 1111 (18 or under – Childline helpline)
Support and information for children and anyone worried about a child.
Youth Support for young people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
On My Mind annafreud.org/on-my-mind
Information for young people to make informed choices about their mental health and wellbeing.
YoungMinds0808 802 5544 (parents helpline)
85258 (crisis messenger service, text YM)
Committed to improving the mental health of babies, children and young people, including support for parents and carers. Provides information on medication for young people.
Advice and counselling network for young people, including details of free local services.