Teaching with Pride, Learning with Confidence

SEMH

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What is ELSA?

ELSA stands for Emotional Literacy support assistant.

An ELSA is an adult led programme. The qualified member of staff will set SMART individual targets to teach emotional literacy skills to a child on a 1:1 basis or in small groups. Typically, a programme lasts for 6 – 12 weeks. This could be working on a spectrum of different needs.

Who is the ELSA?

The ELSA at KJS is Miss K Williams she received training for this role by Educational psychologists to support children with temporary or long term emotional needs. Professionals recognise that children learn better and feel happier when their emotional needs are addressed and sustained.  The ELSA continues to receive regular support from educational psychologists to support her ongoing role.

What do they do?

Miss K Williams aims to provide emotional support to those who need it, providing a warm and respectful relationship and to administer this in a reflective space where children are able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings. She works with various children covering an array of needs as mentioned this can be on a 1:1 basis or in small groups.

These include:

  • Recognising and managing emotions
  • Self-regulation and coping with anger
  • Loss and bereavement
  • Building self-esteem
  • Friendship skills

How does ELSA work?

Children are referred for ELSA support via their class teacher the school SENCO or the child’s parent. The school then identify and prioritise children who need a regular weekly session. The session last between 6-12 weeks. Over that time the ELSA will develop and provide plans to support the child, learn new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional difficulties more effectively. There will always be children who face life challenges which distract from their learning. Some may have experienced trauma or bereavement which may mean they are not able to effectively operate emotionally and may have difficulties coping with their mental health and well-being.

For children with complex needs it is unrealistic for an ELSA to resolve all their issues. In these cases she may discuss and refer to other agencies such as Camhs to obtain more specialist provision. The ELSA can also recommend parenting courses and bereavement groups for families.   

Useful Links 

 A child friendly video explaining why we lose control of our emotions

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A child friendly video explaining social skills

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Happy Maps

Providing mental health resources all in one place

Hampshire CAHMS

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are an NHS service that aims to help young people up to the age of 18 who are finding it hard to manage their emotional and psychological health, and who are suffering with acute, chronic and severe mental health problems

Relax Kids

‘Relax Kids’ supports your children’s mental and emotional health and wellbeing with a range of tools and techniques to help calm their body and mind and build confidence and self-esteem. provides a free ‘Calm Pack’, which includes advice for children, parents and carers.

Young Minds

The ‘Young Minds’ website has tips and advice on how to support your child’s mental health and wellbeing.  It also has links to external services, which can provide further support and information.