Lons Infant School

Learning, Opportunities, Nurturing, Success

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Welcome to Lons Infant School!


What is an ELSA and what are the benefits?

An ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by Educational Psychologists which recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are being met.

An ELSA is an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. They are a qualified specialist teaching assistant with a wealth of experience working with children requiring some temporary or long term positive provision. ELSAs are trained and regularly supervised by a designated Educational Psychologist. The role of an ELSA is to help your child feel happy in school and reach their potential educationally, whilst also maintaining the ethos of a nurturing environment within Lons Infant school. Their aim is to build your child’s emotional development and help them cope and find solutions to any problems they may have. At Lons Infant School our designated ELSA is Mrs Yendle.

What is Emotional Literacy?

Emotional Literacy refers to your child’s ability to recognise, name and express their feelings.

How are children selected to be on ELSA?

At Lons Infant School we offer an open door policy where parents and carers can come and chat with their child’s class teacher to discuss areas of concern. A referral can be made from a parent, class teacher or SENCO. Through discussion and observation it will help us to understand some of your child’s history to set their targets.

Once a referral has been made, the ELSA will complete the necessary assessments to form a guide to accessing your child’s social, emotional and behavioural skills. We use a social, emotional and skills tracker, alongside a Target Monitoring Evaluation (TME) form.  

At Lons Infant school we believe the voice of the child is extremely important so your child will be asked if they are willing to participate in ELSA sessions. With support from Mrs Yendle your child will complete a self-esteem questionnaire prior to their sessions to help identify any additional support which may be required.

Due to the high demand for ELSA sessions, your child, in the first instance, may be placed on a ‘waiting list’ until the following term.  


Where do ELSA sessions take place?

Timetabled ELSA sessions will take place in the Magic Room. The consistency of delivering sessions in the magic room is very important and increases their sense of security.

The structured routines offer a safe space for your child to talk, think and do, allowing for continuity and confidentiality. The Magic Room offers a welcoming area for children to use and practice their learnt techniques and strategies. Also within the Magic Room there is a small area to read and/or listen to stories.


Which areas can ELSA’s help with?

The benefit of having an ELSA in school is to identify support with some of the following emotional needs.

  1. Emotional literacy
  2. Emotional regulation
  3. Growth mindset
  4. Anxiety
  5. Social skills and social interactions
  6. Self-esteem
  7. Relationships
  8. Managing strong feelings
  9. Bereavement and loss
  10. Anger management
  11. Friendship issues/conflict
  12. Recognising and managing feelings
  13. Resilience


How long will my child attend ELSA sessions?

Sessions run once a week on a 1:1 basis and the number of sessions varies per child. Sessions typically comprise of 6-8 sessions lasting between 30-40 minutes.


Small groups may be required in some circumstances, such as friendship/social interactions, but all support will begin individually.  Interventions are tailored specifically to your child and inevitably there may be times when designated sessions will not go ahead, e.g. absences or school activities, however, sessions will resume the following week.

Sessions are not expected to continue for more than one school term (6-8 sessions) and as interventions are tailored to the needs of individuals, SMART targets are defined and reviewed following each session, allowing for reflection and responsiveness to needs.


After the delivery of blocked sessions Mrs Yendle will continue to ‘check in’ with your child. In some circumstances your child may require ongoing support to maintain and foster positive relationships.


What does an ELSA session look like?

Mrs Yendle will plan the sessions for your child very carefully. The session consists of several parts.

Example lesson

  1. Hello and welcome- this allows your child to talk about what they have been up to during the day and greet them in their safe environment.


  1. Emotions check in- this is an opportunity to talk about their feelings using a visual feelings wheel to support their emotional vocabulary. Your child will select their mood using the appropriate coloured leaf and add it to our mood tree to further develop discussion. Juice, water and snacks are offered to welcome and support your child’s well-being.


  1. Main activity- Mrs Yendle will plan the activity to a learning objective. Something your child will be able to do at the end of the session that they cannot do now. For example, your child might have low self-esteem so Mrs Yendle will work with your child’s strengths. She will encourage your child to talk about their talents or personal characteristics such as ‘kind’, ‘caring’, ‘helpful’ or brave. Your child may then make something or create a piece of work to reinforce those strengths.


  1. Relaxation time- your child may be taught breathing exercises, calm down techniques, colour or have a story to help them prepare for returning to class. Your child will take the lead on their preferred relaxation methods.


  1. Review- your child will be able to reflect on the session and realise they have lots of strengths and talents which will boost their self-esteem. This may be a time to reflect on what they may want to change or try next time.


What impact can the role of ELSA have at our school?


The impact that ELSA sessions can have include:

  1. Positive changes with behavioural, emotional or social difficulties.
  2. Developing self-awareness.
  3. Learn strategies to seek help.
  4. Develops their coping strategies which are best suited for them.
  5. Children manage better in their school environment.
  6. Become better at expressing themselves.
  7. Improved learning.
  8. Increases their confidence in managing ‘problems.’
  9. Gain positive relationships with caregivers, peers and staff.
  10. Understand, manage and use their emotions appropriately.


Who to contact

Please do talk to your child’s class teacher, Mrs Yendle who delivers ELSA or Miss Oakley our SENCO if you have any concerns about your child or if you think your child could benefit from ELSA sessions.