We are lucky enough to have two qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistants at Great Casterton CE Primary School: Mrs Caz Tosney and Mrs Jenny Fisher. The training, with Educational Psychologists, included planning and delivering programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs.
There will be moments in many children's lives where the challenges they face detract from their ability to learn. Some will require a greater support to increase their emotional literacy. ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by Educational Psychologists and it recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are addressed.
In most cases, this will be delivered on an individual basis. Sometimes small group work is appropriate - especially in the areas of friendship. The sessions are meant to be fun, using a range of activities; games, role play with puppets, arts and craft. ELSA session take place in our Nurture Room which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and cared for.
In ELSA we aim to support a wide range of emotional needs:
How does ELSA work?
Children are referred for ELSA support by the class teacher, SENDCo, Headteacher and parents request. The ELSAs meet each other regularly, discussing referral forms and identifying and prioritising need. The support session are planned to facilitate the pupil developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively.
ELSA's are not there to fix children's problems. What they can do is provide emotional support - in which ever way they feel is appropriate. Establishing a warm, trusting relationship with a pupil and a space for them to feel they can share their thoughts and feelings is our first aim.
The change that we would want the children to make is not always rapid and is dependent on the context and complexity of the issues. In some cases, ELSAs may recognise that some issues are beyond their level of expertise that could reasonably be expected of an ELSA. This is when we would look to signpost children and their families to support that maybe more suitable.
For further information regarding children and their health https://www.healthforkids.co.uk/ may help with further advice and support.
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