At Pear Tree we know the importance of supporting everyone’s mental well-being. We have three of our staff team who work as Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs). Mrs Degg, Mrs Ryles and Mrs Boughey have all undertaken additional training and run weekly support groups that aim to develop a wide range of skills and strategies in our learners, all of which help to maintain their mental well-being. In addition Mrs Swallow is our key mental health first aider, working to support both staff and pupils.

What is ELSA?

There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning. Some will need more support than others to improve their emotional literacy. ELSA is an initiative developed and support by Educational Psychologists. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are met.

Some ELSA work is delivered on a 1:1 basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate especially in the areas of social and friendship skills. Sessions are fun and engaging and we use a range of activities such as: role play, puppets, games or therapeutic activities such as mindfulness, arts and crafts. ELSA sessions take part in a safe space, which provides a calm area for the child to feel supported and nurtured in.

In ELSA we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:

  • Recognising emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Self esteem
  • Social skills
  • Friendship skills
  • Anger management
  • Loss and bereavement

How does ELSA work?

Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders, or on occasion the SENCO. Programs usually run for 6-8 weeks and sessions are usually on a weekly basis. With the program aims in mind we plan support sessions to facilitate the pupil in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively.

Supporting, not fixing

Remember ELSA is not here to fix children’s problems. What we can do is provide emotional support. We aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where they are able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings.


Training and development of ELSAs is an ongoing process. An educational psychologist has regular supervision sessions with our team and is able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases. If cases are beyond our level of expertise then we may refer to outside agencies such as:  a play therapist, specialist counselling or CAMHS.

This is what our children say about ELSA:

"Its calm"

"It takes all our worries away"

"Makes me happy"


"I like the Elsa teachers."

Parents help and support:

My child appear anxious …

What to do when you worry too much. (A kids guide to overcoming anxiety) by Dawn Huebner

This is an interactive self help book designed to guide children between the ages of 6 -12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive behavioural techniques most used to treat generalised anxiety.

For younger children …

Ruby’s worries by Tom Percival

A huge bag of worries by Virginia Ironside

The colour monster by Anna Llenas

MY YOUNG MINDS supports families in dealing with anxiety.

My Child has low self esteem …

You are awesome By Matthew Syed Has activities to provide children with way to develop their self-worth and self-esteem. Best for Key Stage 2.

The lion inside By Rachel Bright and Jim Field

Have you filled your bucket today? By Carol McCloud

MY YOUNG MINDS support families in dealing with low self esteem

My child is angry

Volcano in my tummy a clear and effective approach to helping children and adults alike understand and deal constructively with children's anger. Through activities, stories, articles, and games designed to allow a multi-subject, developmental approach to the topic at home.

Rory Red by Luke Baker

MY YOUNG MINDS supports families in dealing with anger

"Pear Tree School - Being our Best Selves..."

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