At Noremarsh we have two Emotional Literacy Support Assistants, or ELSA’s.  An ELSA is typically a Teaching Assistant who must undertake training delivered by an Educational Psychologist and who will continue to be monitored, attending regular supervision throughout the year.

The aim is to help children understand their emotions and help them find strategies to cope so they can self regulate.  The initiative was developed and supported by educational psychologists, who used knowledge of how children develop socially and emotionally, and applied this knowledge to the needs of children in school.

What can ELSAs help with?

  • Social Skills
  • Bereavement
  • Social Situations
  • Therapeutic Stories
  • Anger Management
  • Self-esteem
  • Real-life problem-solving skills
  • Friendship

As with any school intervention, a child will be referred by their class teacher with the view of what the teacher would like to be different as a result of ELSA support.  Small and achievable targets will be agreed, with thought to how these can be reinforced and maintained.  Once a referral has been received and agreed, the ELSA will plan an intervention which lasts typically over 6 sessions, approximately 30/45 minutes per session.  This is a gentle process, with each session starting with an emotions check in, followed by a warm up activity, the core activity, then relaxation to end on before going back to class.  Each session remains focused by a specific learning outcome, with the resulting targets in mind.

The impact of ELSA intervention is measured using a scale of impact from the child’s perspective at session 1 and again at session 6, as well as a pre and post assessment by the ELSA.

If it is felt that the child needs further ELSA support, there must be a period of at least six weeks so that the child can assimilate the knowledge and skills they have acquired before starting a new intervention.