Emotional Wellbeing Support
What do we offer?
We have two Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA’s)
We provide support for a range of emotional needs, such as:
- Recognising emotions
- Social skills
- Friendship skills
- Anger management
- Loss and bereavement
- Family illness or separation
- Relaxation techniques
How does it work?
ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by Educational Psychologists. It is recognised that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are met. We have undergone training, and receive regular support from, Educational Psychologists from our Local Authority to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer-term emotional needs.
Sessions are planned to support children in recognising their feelings, developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively. These sessions are fun, using a range of activities such as: games, role play with puppets, arts and crafts and mindfulness and take place in the ‘Nest room,’ which provides a warm, calm, safe place for the child to feel supported and nurtured where they can share their thoughts and feelings. The majority of ELSA sessions are delivered on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in the area of social and friendship skills. The programme is weekly and lasts usually between 6-10 weeks depending on the individual child.
How can my child get support?
There are three ways you child can access ELSA support:
- Each classroom has a worry box. The child can write their worry on a slip. Mrs Houston checks the worry boxes weekly, and then speaks to the child about their worry. Children can also see Mrs Houston in the Nest room during the lunchtime drop in, or the child can speak to a Child Mental Health Champion.
- Class Teachers and other school staff can refer a child who they think would benefit from ELSA sessions. We will always contact you and seek your permission before beginning any work with your child.
- Parents/Carers can request support directly. If you think your child may need my support or if you would like some advice with how to support your child at home please email me on ELSA@williambyrd.school
Rainbows Bereavement and Separation Support
We are able to provide support in our Rainbows group for any child who:
- has experienced the death of a family member, friend or sibling, or;
- whose family have experienced a separation
When something significant happens in a family, it can have a profound effect on the child. If a parent dies, a divorce happens, or some other painful loss occurs, not only do the parents grieve, the children do also. Children may find it extremely difficult to verbalise their feelings of grief because of their age and inexperience.
Through Rainbows, we offer a safe place in the Nest room where we will sensitively guide your child to begin to share their experiences, supporting them to express and understand their feelings, to feel acceptance for what has happened, and to feel a sense of belonging and love. The programme lasts for 12-14 weeks and supports self-esteem, trust, confidence, and resilience, promoting emotional development and positive, healthy relationships.
If your child has experienced the death of a loved family member, friend or sibling, or is struggling through a painful experience, this will be an opportunity for him/her to share with a special someone. This may include children who are part of new or changed family set-ups, such as after a parental separation or somebody leaving the home.
If you would like to refer your child to enable them to be considered for attending these sessions or you would like some more information, please speak to your class teacher or contact Mrs Houston at ELSA@williambyrd.school
Growing Hope Gardening Group
We have joined Winston’s Wish bereavement charity to run a Growing Hope project. The Growing Hope project brings together bereaved children to garden at regular sessions during school time. These children can experience the benefits of gardening throughout the year whilst having the opportunity to meet with other grieving children and create an informal network of support. Our garden area will provide a quiet reflective space for children to cope with their grief.
How does gardening help with grief?
The Growing Hope project follows the seasonal cycle of the year and uses it as a metaphor for growth and change that supports the children in coming to terms with their own changing circumstances and supports them to understand the concept of life and death. There is strong evidence linked to gardening and connectivity to nature with improved mental and physical health. For bereaved children in particular growing vegetables can give children a sense of purpose.
The benefits of the group session
Working together with nature means the children can connect with others who have had similar experiences, enabling them to access support and understanding. Through this they can realise they are not alone and that many emotions that we feel when grieving such as sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt, fear, denial, disbelief and confusion are part of the journey. The relationship formed with other children may create a supportive network of families within the wider local community. This helps children and their parent’s better cope with loss and reduces the experience of isolation that is often associated with bereavement.
If you would like your child to join the group please contact Mrs Houston by e-mailing ELSA@williambyrd.school.