How does ELSA work?
Remember, ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems. What they do is provide emotional support to those who need it. They aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where children are able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings.
ELSA sessions need to feel qualitatively different from school lessons. They are not about teaching pupils or telling them what to do, but about facilitating greater self awareness in pupils and helping them to reach their own solutions and coping strategies. The sessions will have an element of fun to them whether this is by playing games or asking questions, creating something arty!
It needs to be appreciated that change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly and is dependent upon the context and complexity of the presenting 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. Training and development of ELSAs is an ongoing process and wisdom is required to recognise when issues are beyond the level of expertise that could reasonably be expected of an ELSA. The Educational Psychologist that works with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases. This may well mean referral to external agencies if appropriate.
Working on things that are personal to a child is likely to make the impact of the programme more successful.
Further information on general advice can be found under the heading of
Parent Self Help in this section.