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What is an ELSA?

An ELSA is an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. Emotional literacy is about understanding and coping with the feelings of ourselves and others. It involves developing high self-esteem and creating positive interactions with other people.

ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists. It recognises that children learn better and are happier if their emotional needs are also addressed. ELSAs are specialist members of staff with a wealth of experience of working with children. Nicky Welland, one of our Managers is our Early Years ELSA.

The majority of ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially when the focus is on social and friendship skills. Sessions are fun and we use a range of activities enabling the child to feel supported and nurtured.

In our ELSA sessions we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs including:

  • Recognising and Managing Emotions
  • Self-Esteem
  • Social Skills
  • Friendship Skills/ Friendship Issues/ Peer problems
  • Anger Management
  • Loss and Bereavement
  • Low Self-Esteem/ Confidence
  • Relationships
  • Family Separation
  • Anxiety
  • Behaviour

How does ELSA work?                       

ELSA sessions are not intended to fix children’s problems, but are a means of supporting a child through a situation and a way of encouraging them to begin to open up and talk and to learn strategies to deal with their emotions.

An ELSA will use counselling skills, including active listening, problem clarification and open questions in order to enable a child to talk about their thoughts and feelings. 


ELSA Resources




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