I Mrs Nash, am happy to be able to use this page to share information with you about Emotional Literacy Support within St Mary's.

What is ELSA?

There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning. Some will require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others. ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists which recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed.

I have been trained by Educational Psychologists to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing additional emotional needs. I deliver the majority of ELSA work on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate.

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

´╗┐Supporting - not fixing

Remember, as an ELSA I am not here to fix your children's problems. What I can do is provide emotional support through

establishing warm, respectful relationships with pupils.

I will also provide a reflective space where pupils are able to share their thoughts and feelings.

It needs to be appreciated that change cannot necessarily be achieved quickly and is dependent upon the context and complexity of the issues.

For children with complex or long-term needs it is unrealistic to expect ELSA intervention to resolve all their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need. My ELSA training and development is an ongoing process and my experience helps me to recognise when issues are beyond my level of expertise. At these times the school will support parents with possible referrals for specialist counselling, play therapy or to CAMHS. See below for places to look.

I may also be able to signpost to other agencies for family support.

The Educational Psychologist that works with our school has regular supervision sessions with our ELSAs, and is able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.

Recognising emotions


Social skills

Friendship skills

Anger management

Loss and bereavement

If you think your child may need my support contact the class teacher in the first instance, they will chat to me and/or Mrs Gray or Mr Frame to decide on a plan of action. Sometimes I might recommend some ideas for home before I can see them or there may be a more appropriate alternative to ELSA.

What happens in an ELSA session?

An ELSA session is always fun!

Elsa sessions generally take place in the Cabin, my work space design to be comfortable, fun and calming.

I always try to play a game or make something to start each session.

After this there may be a worksheet, some calming techniques to practise, a book to read, some puppet play, comic strips, mindfulness, rolepay or many many other things!

There will also always be an opportunity for children to talk about their current emotions.

I have a wide variety of resources and will set targets and a plan of work according to each individual. No two sessions are ever the same.

Draw a comic strip to help organise

and process thoughts and feelings.

Blow your worries away in a bubble.

Write them on paper and make it into a paper aeroplane to fly away.

Children can also write us a message with their worries and put into the school worry station, in the library.

Still not sure how to help your child with anxiety, anger, friendship, bereavement, school avoidance or any other pastoral or home issue?

Make an appointment in the office to see me or come to one of our informal coffee mornings.

I can help find support for you and your family as well as support your child in school.

Have fun!




Puppets are great fun to

talk about feelings.

If you are finding it difficult to cope with your child's behaviour at home these websites may help you: