ELSA - Emotional Literacy Support Assistants
Welcome to St Nicolas Junior school ELSA page- whether you’re thinking about requesting ELSA support for your child or you would just like some tips and activity ideas to further support your child’s emotional wellbeing; over the coming months we hope to create a page full of ideas and helpful advice on how you can help your child; for example in areas such as self-esteem, or perhaps to learn about calming techniques. We will also be recommending books that you may find useful and links to other websites for some self-help at home. I'm Mrs Tompsett, your school ELSA- I've been at St Nics since 2012 working with children in many different roles, I'm also trained in “drawing and talking” therapy and other relevant practises.
If you have any concerns during lockdown, questions about the support we can provide or anything else you'd like to talk to me about- please feel free to email me directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
What is an ELSA and how do sessions run?
An ELSA is a specialist teaching assistant with a wealth of experience of working with children. ELSAs are trained and regularly supervised by the Educational psychologists in your local education authority.
An ELSA is a warm and caring person who wants to help your child feel happy in school and to reach their potential educationally. Their aim is to remove the barriers to learning and to have happy children in school and at home.
ELSA sessions last from 30-45 minutes once a week for a period of 6-10 weeks (this time scale may be adjusted, depending on the situation) and are planned to meet the specific needs of the individual child.
I like ELSA lessons because they have helped me with my fears, my friendship and my worries. I enjoy the craft and painting activities most. Mrs Tompsett has really helped and she is very kind and caring when I’m upset- year 6 child
Supporting - not fixing
Remember, ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems. What we can do is provide emotional support and a listening ear.
We aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where they feel 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- In these cases, school supports parents with referrals for specialist counselling, play therapy or to CAMHS. The Educational Psychologist that works with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.
Support after lockdown
If you or your child are struggling due to the lockdown or the after effects of the past year, young minds is a brilliant charity offering support and advice-
Another brilliant charity supporting the emotional wellbeing of children during the pandemic is partnership for children- there are some great resources and activities to print foor while you're at home
Is your child struggling with worries or anxiety?
Please follow the links to useful pages for helping your child overcome anxiety: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/stress-better/2016/03/49-phrases-to-calm-an-anxious-child/
**** Recommended self-help anxiety book ! ****
What to Do When You Worry Too Much ( A kids 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 during the support of generalised anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change. We have used this book at school and have found it a very useful tool.
With children’s love for technology ever increasing, I have included a few useful links to free apps to support children's emotional well being.
Breathe, Think, Do With Sesame - a great introduction to mindfulness for younger children. With the help of a cute monster, kids learn calming breathing techniques to help them cope with potentially frustrating or distressing situations: putting on shoes, saying goodbye to parents, fixing a block tower, waiting in line, and going to sleep in the dark. Each scenario can be revisited, depending on your child’s particular struggles, and there’s also a parents’ section packed with tips and strategies.
Manatee & me – Kids can gain points as they work through their goals whether it’s boosting self-esteem and confidence or managing anxiety
Headspace – An everyday guide to health and happiness through mindfulness in just a few minutes a day
Here are a few resources and gems of inspiration if you're looking for any activities to do with your child to do while you're at home
We understand during these unprecedented times of lockdowns and social distancing, how difficult it is for children to maintain their friendships and use of social skills. We hope to support this as best we can once the children have all returned, however there are still some ways of building these skills in the meantime. The links below will take you to articles which offer some advice and practical activities you can do as a family at home to include a variety of these skills.
Mindfulness helps children focus on what's happening now and keep their thoughts from drifting. Children can learn mindfulness and it can help them build key skills like focus and self-control. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques are more important now than ever. They are important for bringing focus back to an activity during feelings of stress and anxiety. These techniques can be as easy as a quick breathing exercise
In this section I will be including readings of some of my favourite books that support children's emotional literacy in a variety of ways, from encouraging individuality, perseverance, self esteem, anger, anxiety and many more subjects.
Dr Seuss- My many coloured days. This is one of my very favourite books to read with the children- from the illustrations to the many different range of emotions that it covers, it's brilliant and always an engaging read
The Koala who could- Rachel Bright. A beautifully illustrated book following a koala bear who has a fear of trying anything new and therefore he finds himself stuck up on his branch, missing out on lots of activities with his friends, until something happens which forces him to find the courage to face the unknown.
The huge bag of worries- Virginia Ironside. This book encourages children to talk about their worries and identify how they can be resolved.
The angry octopus- Lori Lite. A lovely story about an octopus who struggles with his anger and gets some advice from the sea girl to use breathing techniques to feel calmer.
~~ Children's mental health week 1-7th Feb ~~
Follow this website link to NHS recommended apps https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/
With the theme of this years children's mental health week being "express yourself", I have included a link to a lovely activity from the ELSA support website. The website offers a huge variety of resources, many for free that support with all ranges of emotional literacy.
Express yourself charades - A fun game to play with all the family!
The below is a really lovely site you can buy some brilliant activity books for children, uplifting gifts and just general positivity and happiness.
Back to school
Since returning to school, your child/ren may be excited, happy, sad, worried, apprehensive (or more likely, a mixture of all these emotions!) During this transition back to normality, you may find that your child needs a little extra emotional support so, in this section, I will be including as much support, resources and advice as I can.
TV presenters Ant & Dec have teamed up with the NSPCC to host an assembly this morning (23/2) - their focus will be on children's mental wellbeing
This March calendar ‘together again’ is themed on everyone being together again at school. Each day has an activity linked to friendship, social skills and community. PowerPoint Presentation (elsa-support.co.uk)
People who are grateful tend to be happier and healthier. Being grateful can help people cope with stress. This is such a simple and quick thing to do each day. This is a fantastic exercise to get into each day to help improve mood and happiness. It is suitable for anyone to do. You might want to do it too! It is short and simple gratitude practice. It is best to do this at the end of the day or for children perhaps after school or before bed.
There are several sheets that can be used according to the child’s needs. Reflect on your day. What went well? What was good about today? It can be the tiniest thing.
Write down the three things. You don’t have to write lots, just a few words. Young children could draw a small picture in each box or use the drawing sheet and print out a weeks worth.
Reflect on those good things. Fill your mind with those good things.
Choose the sheet you want to use and print it out for a full week to try.