Emotional Health and ELSA
It is okay to say that you don't feel okay...
Below are some useful websites which can provide you with some help, should you feel that you need it.
Also, please remember that the staff at Whitemoor are here to help. If you feel like you might need to access some support, please speak to a member of staff and they can direct you. Whitemoor Academy has four Designated Safeguarding Leads (Ellen Kelliher, Mr Lord, Mrs Fletcher and Mrs Di Martino). If you are in need of some support, please come and see us. Miss Hardy is our designated Pastoral and Nurture Lead in school and is a Mental Health First Aider if you need to talk to her about how you feel. Also, please remember that every member of staff has got time for you.
We also have our 'Place to Go' box, where you can write a comment and leave it if you prefer to talk to us this way.
ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) Provision
What is ELSA?
There can be challenges faced by young people that detract from their ability to engage with learning. Some children will access support from family members, teachers or peers and this may be sufficient support. Others may need greater support to increase their understanding of how to deal with these challenges. The role of an ELSA is to help these children understand and cope with the feelings they experience and that others around them might feel also. There are many elements to this but ELSA is mostly about developing higher self-esteem, creating positive interactions with other people and ultimately have the tools to regulate some of those big emotions. While ELSA isn't a fix for these challenges, it will have a positive impact on the child's general mental health and well-being, as well as giving the children accessing the support, a safe base to share and explore these big emotions.
ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed. ELSAs are specialist members of staff with a wealth of experience of working with children. Our ELSA in school is Miss Hardy.
Miss Hardy has been trained by Educational Psychologists to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. The majority of ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis. If some children need support forming and maintaining friendships or need help with social interactions, then children may work in small groups.
Sessions are fun and we use a range of activities including games, role-play with puppets, activity sheets 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.
What does it mean if my child is offered ELSA sessions?
You will receive a letter that suggests your child take part in ELSA sessions. If you feel you do not want your child to take part in these sessions or have any questions as to why they may have been referred for this type of support, please contact Miss Hardy or Mr Lord. If your child is offered this session, this is because their teacher or another member of staff feels that they may need support when dealing with bigger emotions.
What are ELSA sessions for?
ELSA sessions aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs including:
- Recognising and Managing Emotions
- Social Skills
- Friendship Skills/ Friendship Issues/ Peer problems
- Anger Management
- Loss and Bereavement
- Low Self-Esteem/ Confidence
- Family Separation
How does ELSA work?
Children are usually referred for support by their class teacher, Mrs Waterfall (our SENCo), Ellen or Mr Lord. A discussion then takes place between the person making the referral and Miss Hardy, who will identify and prioritise which children require ELSA support. Once these children have been identified, Miss Hardy will meet with the class teacher and conduct an initial consultation with the parent or guardian of the child to discuss next steps and hopes for the outcome of the ELSA sessions.
The programme of ELSA support runs for 6-8 sessions which last between 30 and 40 minutes. The sessions are not a quick fix and do not promise to be but they are a way of allowing each child time and space to open up about their concerns or troubles in a safe and supportive environment.
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. In her role as the ELSA, Miss Hardy will then identify the areas of support the child needs and will work with the child to set targets about what they want to achieve from their ELSA sessions.
Once the programme of sessions has ended, Miss Hardy will then continue to be available to support the child but will do this in a responsive way rather than during planned sessions. If it is felt that the child needs further support, Miss Hardy will allocate appropriate next steps.