Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA)
We are proud to offer ELSA support here at Cherhill CofE Primary School. We have two trained ELSA specialists, Mrs Vowden for FS2 and Key Stage 1 and Mrs Warner for KS2. They each have three timetabled afternoons where they are available to support the children and staff.
I qualified as an ELSA when I started my career here at Cherhill. My role as an ELSA is to help children understand their feelings through a weekly half an hour meeting. Each child that is referred to me has a different emotion to understand, for example; building confidence, understanding worries and anxieties, strong emotions, loss or sadness and so on. I then design a 6-week (or more if necessary) intervention based around their individual needs. The weekly meetings will include an activity, time to talk and ideas to develop strategies to enable them to manage their emotions independently. I encourage children to look at different perspectives and invite them to listen on others’ opinions.
I find this role very rewarding and it gives me the opportunity build a better understanding of a child’s individual need(s) so they can learn to utilise their newfound knowledge in their everyday lives.
Cherhill Primary ELSA for KS2
Hi, my name is Mrs Vowden and I have been an ELSA for 8 years.
I mainly work with the KS1 children and will work with children individually or in a small group. Most interventions will last 6 weeks, sometimes longer and will consist of weekly half hour sessions in our cosy Coral Room.
Children will usually be referred by their class teacher, who will set a target and then I will plan the appropriate intervention to suit the individual’s needs. Examples of interventions we cover are: managing strong feelings, worries and anxiety, being a good friend, encouraging self-esteem, separation and loss, building resilience and many more.
Sessions usually begin with some gentle warm up games and chat to help the child feel at ease and then we will move onto the main activity of the intervention. These activities can be working through a workbook, building a lapbook, craft activities, playing games and lots more. At the end of the session we will look at different relaxation techniques for the child to use in everyday life and this also leaves them relaxed and ready to go back to their learning in class.
Being an ELSA is extremely rewarding especially when you see children feeling empowered by their new skills, knowledge and better understanding of their emotions.