What is an ELSA?

ELSAs are emotional literacy support assistants. They are practitioners who have had special training from educational psychologists to support the emotional development of children in school. ELSAs have regular supervision from educational psychologists to help them in their work.

ELSAs help children learn to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. They provide time and space for pupils to think about their personal circumstances and how to manage them.

How does ELSA work?

Most ELSA programmes will last for 6 to 12 weeks, helping the child learn some specific new skills or coping strategies. Clear programme aims (SMART targets) will to be set early on and each session has an objective – something the ELSA wants to help the pupil understand or achieve.

ELSA work should be fun – that’s what makes the difference. It isn’t a reward for bad behaviour. By building positive relationships with children the ELSA can help them think about and reduce their challenging behaviour. It will take time, but will be worth it in the end.