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Thomas Eaton

Primary Academy

All for Learning and Learning for All

Mental health and wellbeing

ELSA Newsletters

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; e.g. in areas such as empathy, 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 and links to other websites for some self-help at home.

 

What is emotional literacy?

 

  • Understanding and coping with the feelings about themselves and others.
  • Developing high self-esteem and positive interactions with others.
  • Being emotionally literate helps children focus better on their learning.

 

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 our school. Mrs Fleet, who has been trained by Educational Psychologists to plan and deliver programs of support to pupils 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, Mrs Fleet will use a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft.  ELSA sessions take place in a room 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 
  • 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 SENDCo, parents who wish to refer their child should talk to the class teacher in the first instance.  With the programme aims in mind, Mrs Fleet will 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.

In my ELSA role I will use basic counselling skills (including active listening, problem clarification, open questions) to guide conversations. I will avoid rushing in with suggested solutions and instead I will assist the pupil to reflect on their concerns and lead them to explore possible strategies and solutions for themselves.  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 my support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child’s need. My training and development 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. The Educational Psychologist who works with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.

 

ELSA as a time limited intervention


Rather than using an ELSA as part of a child’s permanent support structure, it is better to see the intervention as time-limited to assist the development of specific skills, usually up to a term. Once new skills are acquired, time needs to be allowed for consolidation. Further intervention towards additional aims could be considered at a later date if desired. As an ELSA is part of the permanent staff within school, some informal contact may be maintained for a time to enable graduated withdrawal of support for those children who may need this.

Being offered ELSA is a positive experience and it means that your child will be offered 1:1 support from a trained professional. Schools are required to offer emotional and well-being support for all of their students.

 

 

Parents Self-Help section 

Here we can sign-post you to some of the different websites online which offer help and advice to parents.

 

Do you have an anxious child?

Follow the link below for some useful guidance on helping your child overcome anxieties:

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/stress-better/2016/03/49-phrases-to-calm-an-anxious-child/

 

Self-esteem

Is your child having problems with self-esteem? Try following this link which gives some useful advice to parents:

http://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/primary/health-and-development/helping-your-child-build-self-esteem/

 

Parental advice on anger management

Help with those ‘hot feelings’ – some tips and information for parents/guardians about managing anger in children:

http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/praise-discipline/anger-management-children