A day in the life of an ELSA

Kelly-Jayne Jones from Newbridge Junior School shares her experience working as an ELSA:

“Emotional Literacy Support Assistants, along with other support staff, provide a safe environment to offer children emotional support. Whether this be through 1:1 sessions on helping them take turns, play well with others, understanding their triggers or being part of a bereavement group. ELSA is done differently in school settings to suit the children’s needs.

In my school, I support children when they first get into school by welcoming them into the school building or checking in with them during the morning to make sure they are settled. I help them in their classroom to regulate their emotions so they are able to focus on their school work.

I have children for 1:1 sessions where together we think of strategies to help support them to prevent dysregulation and support them with steps they can take before they get to the coke bottle explosion!

I also run a service children group, where once a week, we all get together and talk about how they are feeling when loved ones are deployed. They all help each other when they are finding it hard by giving each other coping mechanisms and making each other laugh!

It is a very rewarding job and I love seeing the positive impact it has on the children.”

ELSAs are part of the school based support available to children and young people for their social, emotional and mental health (SEMH). You can find out more about the role of ELSAs on the Portsmouth SEND Local Offer website.

Information about the SEMH pathways to support available in Portsmouth can be found in our new guidance for professionals and families.