An ELSA is an Emotional Literacy Support Assisant trained by educational psychologists. Here at South Witham Academy we are lucky to have two trained ELSAs Mrs Reeves and Mrs Kataiwai. The ELSAs aim is to help to ensure that your children feel happy in school and are reaching their potential educationally by identifying and reducing any barriers to learning.
ELSAs help children and young people to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. They provide a consistent private space, time and the opportunity for your children to think about their personal circumstances and how they manage them.
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 with puppets or arts and craft. ELSA sessions can take place in the ELSA room or outside, the ELSA room is designed to be a relaxing area to help children feel nurtured.
In ELSA we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders, SENCO or by parents request. The ELSAs and SENCO meet each other regularly to discuss the referral forms and to identify and prioritise which children require the weekly sessions. They then 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.
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.
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 designed to target specific aspects of a child's need. Training and development of ELSAs is an on-going process and wisdom is required to recognise when issues are beyond the level of expertise that could reasonable be expected of an ELSA. However we can sign post you to outside support that maybe more suitable in complex cases.
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