ELSA, Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental Health & Wellbeing Space


ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)

Hello!  I am Mrs Hodgkinson, St Mary’s ELSA.  I work in The Haven with individual children and small groups.  Please read below to find out more about my role.

What is an ELSA?

An ELSA is a teaching assistant who has taken part in specialist training to learn how to support children with their emotional development.

All children experience emotions on varying levels and some children just need a little more guidance to manage them, for example to help with anxiety, anger management, self-regulation, self-esteem and managing friendships.  They may also be facing life challenges beyond their control like loss or bereavement, divorce or separation which require greater support.  A child’s emotional well-being should not be a barrier to their success and ability to learn and an ELSA can help to break down these barriers.

Children who access the ELSA support will gain help to understand and regulate their own emotions and react to the people and world around them.  They will develop resilience to cope with big feelings that they may not understand.  With nurturing support, they will develop new skills and coping strategies that will help them become more independent in recognising and acting upon these big feelings.

The aim of the ELSA work is to support and guide children through difficult times and give them the skills to be happy at school and home, breaking down the emotional barriers they have to enable them to thrive.

Sessions can be held one to one or in small groups and are always personalised to the individual child’s needs. Sessions are fun and supportive and may contain a variety of activities that the child enjoys, giving them the opportunity to feel calm and relaxed in a safe and caring environment.

It is important to bear in mind that the ELSA does not have a magic wand to ‘fix’ the child.  Some children may have complexed and long-term needs, but the ELSA can work with a child to give them time and a listening ear. Change is a long-term process and needs everyone’s help.

If you would like to find out more about ELSA or wish to speak to a member of staff about your child accessing ELSA sessions then please speak to your child’s class teacher or you can speak to Mrs Hodgkinson directly at school.  All information shared will be dealt with sensitively and will be kept confidential.  Please remember we are here to help and together we can make a positive difference.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and support for parents and carers (NSPCC)

The NSPCC has created a number of resources to support parents and carers during this difficult time. Topics include:

·         Talking to a child worried about coronavirus

·         Parents working from home

·         Children staying home alone

·         Lockdown and separated parents

·         How to cope with tantrums and other difficult behaviour

Andrew Hall, Safeguarding consultant, has recommended the following resources:

Beating Your Worries is a useful booklet to use to support your child if they are struggling with anxiety while in lockdown. It is produced by Sophie Wragg and is aimed at children aged 9 +.

Beating Your Worries

If you have any concerns regarding Safeguarding any child, you can contact the Nottingham City Council Local Authority Multi Agency team: