This year Jo Hart has a new role working as Ainsdale St. John's Emotional Literacy Support Assistant, or ELSA.
The role of an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant has been developed and supported by educational psychologists.
It recognises that children are happier and learn better in school if their emotional needs are also addressed.
How does ELSA work?
ELSA work is 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, with a range of activities such as games, role-play with puppets or therapeutic activities such as mindfulness or arts and craft.
ELSA sessions take place in our very own Nurture Nest which provides a calm, safe space for children to feel supported and nurtured.
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher.
Weekly sessions to facilitate developing new skills and coping strategies to manage social and emotional demands more effectively can then be planned.
A block usually lasts for 6-8 weeks but it can vary in time according to the age of the child.
ELSA sessions aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:
- Recognising emotions
- Social skills
- Friendship skills
- Anger management
- Loss and bereavement
A Typical Session
Emotional check in - This is an opportunity to talk about feelings.
Warm up activity - A fun game or activity to help relax the child.
Main activity - Each session has its own objective (either something the ELSA wants to achieve or something for the child to achieve) that builds towards the longer term aims.
Relaxation - The child will be taught a relaxation exercise to help get them ready to go back to class.
Review - The child will be able to reflect on the session and talk about what they have learnt.