We aim to promote positive mental health and well-being for our whole school community; pupils, staff, parents and carers, and recognise how important mental health and emotional well-being is to our lives in just the same way as physical health.
A child who feels safe and happy, who has resilience and enjoys coming to school will learn. If a child doesn't, they wont learn to the best of their ability. If we prioritise mental and physical health, academic learning will fly.
One way we support our pupil's well-being is through our Emotional Literacy support programme.
What is Emotional Literacy?
A recent study in Educational Psychology in Practice exploring the impact of the Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) programme found that it has a perceived positive impact on multiple components of pupil wellbeing. These components include positive emotions, negative feelings, engagements, resilience, optimism, accomplishment, and relationships.
Emotional literacy work in schools is supported by educational psychologists who apply psychological knowledge of children’s social and emotional development to areas of need. Emotional literacy is about developing a respectful relationship in which the young person is enabled to think about their situation without feeling judged or criticised. It is intended to be short-term purposeful support that helps to develop new skills or coping strategies, thus enabling the pupil to experience greater success.
Our Emotional Support Literacy Assistant (ELSA) has been expertly trained to plan and deliver programmes to support the emotional needs of pupils. Most of the support is delivered on an individual basis but sometimes small group work is more effective, especially when developing social skills. The sessions are fun and use a range of activities. The sessions take place in our ‘Rainbow Room’ which provides a calm, safe space for the children to feel supported and comfortable.
Children are usually referred for emotional support by their class teacher. The referral is then assessed and if the child requires a weekly programme (lasting 6-8 weeks) then this begins to be planned and put into place for them. With the programme aims in mind, the ELSA will provide supportive sessions to facilitate the pupil in developing new skills and strategies they need.
The ELSA supports areas of emotional literacy such as:
· Recognising emotions
· Managing feelings
· Social skills
· Loss and bereavement
The aims of our Emotional Support
Remember, we are not there to fix children’s problems. What we can do is provide emotional support in a respectful and safe environment. An ELSA achieves this by providing a reflective space for the pupil, where they can openly share their thoughts and feelings. They will provide methods and strategies for your child in the area that has been identified during the planning process of the programme.
Some quotes from our children about the sessions:
"It helps me with my sleep and makes me express my feelings"
"They are very helpful, calm and happy"
"They are fun and helpful"
"I can talk to someone about my worries"
"I love the activities"