At Branston Church of England Infant Academy we have a qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA), Mrs Daw. Mrs Daw works in school every day and is a familiar adult for all of our children.
Mrs Daw has undertaken training and accreditation, delivered by Educational Psychologists, to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. She has also completed additional training to support further mental health and well-being needs.
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. Some children may have experienced trauma or bereavement. This can at times create a barrier, which stops/reduces how well children can operate/function in school. In turn this might impact friendships or learning.
We as a school recognise that children learn better and are more content when their emotional needs are being addressed and strive to meet these needs by providing a wide range of support. ELSA is one of these strategies.
The ELSA’s role is to support children and young people in school to understand and regulate their own emotions whilst respecting the feelings of those around them.
ELSA work can take place in a small group situation especially if the focus is on social or friendship skills but is usually delivered on an individual basis, which allows us to meet the specific needs of the child. ELSA sessions currently take place in ‘The Hive’.
ELSA sessions aim to support with a wide range of emotional needs. These include:
How does ELSA work?
Children can be referred to ELSA via a number of channels. Through discussion with parents the Head teacher, their class teacher or SENDCo may make a referral. Parents can also refer their children to ELSA by contacting the school in person or via Class Dojo. A handy reminder is included on each of our weekly newsletters.
Once a child has been referred, and a referral form completed, the ELSA and Head teacher will prioritise the sessions. Sessions will usually take place on a weekly basis but this will be adapted for each child depending on their need.
Intervention will usually take place over 6- 8 weeks and we often begin by getting to know each other; sharing our interests, completing a child-friendly assessment, establishing some rules and building a positive relationship. After the intervention, the ELSA may complete short 5- 10 minute ‘check in’ sessions to continue the relationship that was built, recap on strategies that they have been given, allow the child to share what has been working well and they may want to mention any difficulties they may be having.
Mrs Daw uses a number of techniques developed from her training to help develop a positive relationship with the children she works with. Children will often bring home items they have made with Mrs Daw to share at home. We hope this further supports positive conversations around mental health.