ELSA - Emotional Literacy Support Assistant
Children's Mental Health and Wellbeing Week - 7th-11th February 2022
In ELSA this week, the children have been using clay to create wonderful creations. Clay is a great material because you really have to squeeze, squash and mould it to a desired shape. This requires concentration, imagination and it also releases tension. The children have really enjoyed making these.
The children have been making their very own worry monsters in ELSA. They can tell their worry monsters any worries they may have. Getting a worry out in the open often makes it more manageable, talking to somebody about your worries can help to reduce them.
During this ever changing time our emotions can vary and that is okay. Do you notice sometimes you might feel a little worried? Sometimes you might feel happy, bored or even confused? All of these emotions are valid and during lockdown and beyond, many people will feel a variety of emotions.
Be gentle on yourself, you are doing the best you can.
You are not alone, there is always someone to talk to about your emotions for instance myself - I have a dedicated email that you can reach me on email@example.com and also your parents/caregivers can talk about any emotions you may wish to discuss as well as teachers and friends. There are even people you can talk to when school is closed for instance Childline are open all day and night - free phone 0800 1111. Remember there is always someone who can listen.
Here are ten tips for helping to look after our mental health:
Our bodies are amazing and can tell you what you might need... Have a look at this stress survival guide:
There might be something useful you could try? Or how about some coping skills? Take a look at 50 coping skills for kids:
Wishing you well!
Upton Noble Primary School ELSA
What is ELSA in School?
There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning, and some will require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others. ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed.
Mrs Dunk is the ELSA for Upton Noble Primary School, she has been trained by Educational Psychologists to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. 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 and use a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft. ELSA sessions take place in the Library which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.
In ELSA we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:
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 or termly we review the children who require the ELSA programme for the next 6-8 weeks. With the programme aims in mind we 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.
Each session lasts from approximately 25 - 40 minutes once a week.
Supporting - Not Fixing
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 ongoing process and wisdom is required to recognise when issues are beyond the level of expertise that could reasonably be expected of an ELSA. Educational Psychologists that work with schools would be able to offer advice on the suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.
We hope you have found this information about ELSA in school useful. If you think your child needs ELSA support please get in touch with the school.
Parents' Self Help Resources:
Do you have an anxious child?
Follow the link below for some useful guidance on helping your child overcome anxieties:
Here are some books aimed at supporting children with their worries:
What To Do When You Worry Too Much (A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety) by Dawn Huebner is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioural techniques most often used in the treatment of generalised anxiety. Engaging, encouraging and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates and empowers children to work towards change.
Ruby’s Worry: A Big Bright Feelings Book by Tom Percival is designed for 0-5 year olds. Ruby discovers that recognising and sharing a worry is a first step towards shrinking the worry.
Do you need help dealing with your child's anger?
Here are some websites that offers help with those 'hot feelings' - sharing useful tips and information for managing anger in children:
Here are some books aimed at supporting children with feelings of anger:
Angry Octopus by Lori Lite is an anger management story for children aged 5-10 years old which introduces active progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing. This is a great little story to help children understand that they are in control of their emotions. It focuses on the ownership of feelings and emotions and taking command of the situation.
When I Feel Angry by Dr Sharie Coombes is designed for children aged 3-5 years old. This beautiful picture book about emotion makes an ideal tool to help young children recognise, understand and talk about their feelings more easily.
Is your child struggling with their self-esteem?
Follow these useful links which gives some useful advice to parents/carers:
Here are some books aimed at supporting children with their self-esteem:
Gilly the Giraffe Self-Esteem Activity Book by Dr Karen Treisman is a therapeutic story with creative activities for children aged 5-10 years old.
Happy Confident Me is a daily journal which explores a gratitude and growth mindset to boost children's happiness, self-esteem, positive thinking, mindfulness and resilience. It is designed for children aged 6-12 year old.
Downloadable Well-being Journal:
Outside the Box has produced a FREE activity journal (At Home with Weaving Well-Being) to help children to enhance their mental well-being through a range of activities. It’s probably most suitable for children aged 8 to 12 years old but can certainly be adapted for younger or older children: https://www.otb.ie/wwb-home/
Other Useful Numbers & Websites:
Child line 0800 1111
Winston's Wish 08088 020 021