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ELSA - Emotional Literacy Support

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What is ELSA?

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 SENCo. Every half term there is a meeting with Mrs Shewringto discuss the referral forms and to identify and prioritise which children require a programme for the next 6 - 8 weeks. With the programme aims in mind we then plan support sessions to facillitate the pupil in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively. Each session lasts from 30 to 45 minutes once a week and has its own objective that builds towards the longer term aims.

Supporting - not fixing

Remember, ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems. In most cases we can't. What ELSAs do is to 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 our ELSA role we use basic counselling skills (including active listening, problem clarification, open questions) to guide converstaions. We avoid rushing in with suggested solutions and instead assist the pupil to reflect on their concers 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 support will be desiged to target aspects of a child's needs. Training and development of ELSAs 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 that works with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.

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