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Emotional Literacy Support

ELSAs (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants)

Our Children's Mentor has undertaken ELSA training and regularly implement ELSA strategies in their work with the children in our school. 

Who Are We?

ELSAs (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants) are specialist teaching assistants who have been trained to support children with emotional difficulties. The programme helps to build capacity within schools to support emotional needs for children.  It is recognised that children learn better when they are happier.  ELSAs are supported by Educational Psychologists who deliver the training and provide ELSA supervision.

ELSA work is not therapy, but it is a planned, focused psychological intervention.  It can be offered usually in a 1:1 situation but sometimes in groups. Intervention normally lasts for at least half a term and often up to one term (in exceptional circumstances maybe a little longer) and needs to have clear and realistic outcome aims. Following completion of the programme there may be a period of shorter and less frequent follow-up sessions to support consolidation of new skills.

Who We See:

We see a range of children who have emotional difficulties.  Our training is six days of intensive input, covering:-

  • Emotional awareness
  • Relationships: security and belonging
  • Emotional regulation
  • Motivation 
  • Social and friendship skills
  • Use of social stories and therapeutic stories
  • Loss, bereavement and family breakup
  • Active listening skills

We provide children with a quiet place to explore difficult feelings.  We offer a time-limited intervention rather than open-ended support. We cannot ‘fix’ children’s difficulties because their situations are beyond our control.  We help them to develop new coping skills and build resilience. We are not there to give advice, tell them how they must behave or provide behaviour management programmes.  We focus on the perceptions and emotions that the child brings, helping the child to increase their understanding and move towards more positive responses to the challenges they experience. ELSAs develop bespoke programmes that offer guidance rather than instruction. When children reach their own solutions (with our support) they have greater ownership and consequently commitment to them.

Does ELSA Make a Difference?

There is consistent feedback from schools in UK that ELSAs make a positive impact on the emotional wellbeing of children and young people.

Evaluations show improvements not only in emotional health but also in attainments and involvement in class. 

We hope this has given you some insight into the role of ELSA in the school and what we hope to achieve through working with the children that are referred to us.  We would be really happy to discuss our work with you in more detail.