Welcome to our school wellbeing and ELSA page!
What is mental health and wellbeing?
Children’s emotional well-being is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health helps them develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.
Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:
- being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
- having time and freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
- being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
- going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
- taking part in local activities.
Other factors are also important, including feeling loved, trusted, understood and safe. Children who are optimistic, and resilient, have some control over their lives and feel like they belong are more likely to have good mental well-being.
Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago.
Below are websites that can offer guidance and tips to look after our wellbeing by managing our feelings and emotions, worries or anxieties and to develop our resilience to situations.
What is emotional literacy?
Emotional literacy is the ability to express our emotions and feelings using speech and other forms of communication. It’s an important skill that children must develop from a young age to help establish a stable relationship with their own emotions.
Emotional literacy is a key aspect of emotional intelligence, which means our overall ability to deal with emotions. Emotional literacy focuses on how we communicate our feelings and how well we can read others’ emotions. Whilst some children will naturally be comfortable doing this, others might need more encouragement and support. Without emotional literacy, children will struggle to express their feelings appropriately and might be confused or alarmed by the emotions of others.
What is ELSA intervention?
There will always be children in schools facing life challenges that can detract from their ability to engage with learning, some require greater support than others to increase their emotional literacy. ELSA is an initiative designed and supported by Educational Psychologists. It recognises that children are happier and learn better if their emotional and social needs are being met. Our school ELSAs Mrs Dunne and Mrs Regan, have received training from the Surrey Educational Psychologists to be able to deliver individual or group interventions to address the needs of our pupils.
The sessions are tailored to meet the individual needs of the child and the programme usually runs for 10-12 weeks. The session are fun and include activities like role-play, games, reading books, arts and craft and therapeutic activities such as mindfulness. ELSA sessions take place in The Hive which provides a calm and relaxing space where the children can explore their emotions and feelings in a safe and caring environment ensuring each child feels supported and nurtured.
ELSAs are warm, kind and caring people who want to make children and young people feel happy in school and to reach their potential socially, emotionally and academically. They understand the barriers to learning that some children and young people might have and can help them with this.
They can support the children and young person’s emotional development and help them cope with life’s challenges. ELSAs will also help children and young people to find solutions to problems they might have.
An ELSA is not there to fix problems but to help them find their own solutions and offer that important support to a child or young person.
Relationships are key in helping children and young people to feel safe and nurtured. ELSA is about creating a reflective space for the child or young person.
What areas does an ELSA help with?
- Recognising emotions
- Social skills
- Anger management
- Loss and bereavement.
How does ELSA work?
If you have any concerns about your child’s emotional wellbeing, please speak to your child’s class teacher who will be able to offer advice and assistance in the first instance.
Children are usually referred to ELSA by their class teacher, however Mrs Dunne and Mrs Regan also work closely with Mrs Roberts our School SENCO to identify children that would benefit from ELSA intervention.
Supporting not fixing
It needs to be appreciated that an ELSA’s job is to support the children not to fix their problems, to provide them with the skills they need which can then be transferred into their school and home life. It also needs to be recognised that change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly and is dependent upon the complexity of the presenting difficulties.
Please find below some useful links and suggested books to help your child’s emotional wellbeing.
- Overcoming anxiety
- What to do when you worry too much by Dawn Huebner
- Ruby’s worry by Tom Percival
- Angry octopus by Lori Lite.
What we do in school to support wellbeing
At St Clement’s we:
- Daily mile – exercise to support our physical wellbeing
- Mood box – to share any worries with the class teacher
- Science garden – each class has a bedding container to grow and care for the plants
- Wellbeing days
We are delighted that we have the Surrey Healthy School Approach status.