Southfield Park Primary School

Long Grove Road, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8TF

01372 743 104

Emotional Literacy Support

Here you can find a wide range of information that we hope you will find helpful. Scroll down and follow the links to find out more about Emotional Literacy Support at our school.


What is ELSA?

You may have heard your children mention ELSA, but what is it? ELSA stands for Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. Our ELSA has taken part in extensive training with Educational Psychologists and meets regularly with them for continued support.


Why emotional literacy?

Emotional literacy is very similar to emotional intelligence. The word ‘intelligence’ implies that emotional intelligence is something that you are born with and cannot change. In contrast, with support, emotional literacy is something that can develop and change.


What is emotional literacy?

When a child has strong emotional literacy, they are able to cope well and achieve in learning and in life. If a child can do this, they are more likely to be able to:

  • Know and articulate their own feelings
  • Manage their emotional life without being overwhelmed by it
  • Be persistent in the face of difficulties—be resilient!
  • Show empathy
  • Handle relationships with skill

Why do we have an ELSA programme?

There are always children in school who face life challenges that keep them from engaging and learning in the classroom and some of them will need extra support to develop their emotional literacy. The ELSA programme provides this support and recognises that children learn better, and are happier at school, if their emotional needs are addressed.


What areas of emotional need does ELSA cover?

  • Recognising and managing feelings
  • Understanding and managing anger and other strong emotions
  • Social Skills
  • Self-esteem
  • Friendship Skills
  • Support through loss and bereavement

How does ELSA work?

Children are referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, the Headteacher, the Deputy Headteacher or the SENCO. There are meetings every half term to discuss the referrals and prioritise those children who need support for the next 6-8 weeks. Depending upon the needs of the child, they are seen in a small group or individually for a 30-40 minute session each week. The class teacher and the ELSA work together to set specific targets which the child works towards to help them to develop new skills and learn coping strategies. The ELSA communicates with the parents at the start and at the end of the sessions and is happy to meet with parents to answer any questions they might have.


Supporting – not fixing

Remember, an ELSA is not there to fix a child’s problems—change is a long-term process that requires help from many people. What the ELSA can do is provide emotional support.  She will:

  • Encourage the child to talk
  • Invest time and skills in building a quality relationship
  • Facilitate the development of emotional literacy
  • Model rather than teach
  • Gain respect by giving respect
  • Provide a safe place for the child to talk and share

Resources and Ideas (please click on the links below for more information)

Click here to meet our ELSA, Christa Miniuks