Some children 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.
The Emotional Literacy Support Assistants at Lawn Primary School have been trained by educational psychologists in Kent to plan and deliver programmes of support for children who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. 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, art and craft and mindfulness meditation.
These help to:
- Encourage co-operation with others
- Build self-esteem through positive social interaction
- Demonstrate effective social behaviour
- Create imaginary situations to discuss the feelings of others
- Use age appropriate storytelling as a tool. Various aspects of emotional matters and development can be explored in a safe way.
ELSA takes place in The Nest 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 emotions
- Developing 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 the SENDCo. Every week staff from The Nest meet with the Headteacher who is in charge of pastoral care, to discuss any referrals and to identify and prioritise which children require a weekly programme for the next available slot. With the programme aims in mind we then plan support sessions to facilitate the pupils in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively.
The overall aim is to equip the children that require ELSA intervention with strategies to self manage some of their emotional needs. The ELSA programme is not designed to 'fix' children's problems but to provide emotional support to help them to continue to access learning through life's ups and downs.
We aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with the children and to provide a reflective space where they are able to share their thoughts and feelings honestly without judgement.