Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)

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 Wirral. 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.

Mrs Whibley is Dawpool’s Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA). 

There will always be children in school 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. When our children find themselves struggling and encounter difficulties with their emotional health our ELSA will be there to listen, provide additional TLC and support them. To do this they plan and deliver programmes of support and these can be 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 we use a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft.  ELSA sessions take place in our very own 'ELSA room' which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.

Our ELSA can help with: 

  • Loss and bereavement
  • Self-esteem
  • Social Skills
  • Emotions
  • Friendship issues
  • Relationships
  • Anger Management
  • Anxiety
  • Conflict
  • Relaxation Techniques

How does ELSA work?

Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders or on occasion the SENCo. The referral forms are reviewed regularly to identify and prioritise which children require a programme of support. 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 30 - 45 minutes once a week. Each session includes time to talk (emotional check-in) a planned main activity which will be interactive and may include a game, followed by some quiet relaxation time.

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. We can't necessarily fix their problems but we CAN provide emotional support. Also, 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. If additional support is needed, our ELSA, along with Miss Venables, SENCo, can work with our families to organise extra help from other agencies.