Mental Health and Wellbeing
Our ELSA space is always welcoming, relaxing and calm
In our school, our Christian vision shapes all we do. Through the teachings of Jesus and our strong Christian values we foster trust, mutual respect and a clear sense of community. At Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our whole school community (children, staff, parents and carers.) We recognise how important mental health and emotional wellbeing is to our lives in just the same way as physical health in order to flourish. At our school, we know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, we may need additional emotional support. Children’s mental health is a crucial factor in their overall wellbeing and can affect their learning and achievement. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s responsibility and that we all have a role to play.
The Department for Education (DfE) recognises that “in order to help their children succeed; schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy”. Schools can be a place for children and young people to experience a nurturing and supportive environment that has the potential to develop self-esteem and give positive experiences for overcoming adversity and building resilience. For some, school will be a place of respite from difficult home lives and offer positive role models and relationships, which are critical in promoting children’s wellbeing and can help create a sense of belonging and community.
Our role in school is to ensure that children are able to manage times of change and stress, and that they are supported to reach their potential or access help when they need it. We also have a role to ensure that children learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, what affects their mental health, and where they can go if they need help and support.
What is an 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 require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others. ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by Educational Psychologists. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed.
Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Lightfoot-Ward are our school Emotional Literacy Support Assistants. The majority of ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in the areas of social and friendship skills. Sessions are fun, they use a range of activities such as: games, role-play, ELSA support resources, and arts and crafts. ELSA sessions take place in our very own 'ELSA space' which provides a calm, safe and private space for children to feel supported and nurtured. We have also recently introduced the 'Cosy Corner' for children who want to relax on a beanbag beneath the canopy. Sometimes just having a little special time with an ELSA can make children feel valued and listened to and that in itself may be instrumental in turning a small problem around.
ELSAs help children to learn to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. They provide the time and space for pupils to think about their personal circumstances and how they manage them. They cover the areas of:
- Attachment issues
- Loss and bereavement
- Social skills
- Friendship issues
- Anger management
- Relaxation techniques
- Lego therapy
If you have any concerns about your child, please do not hesitate to phone or email the class teacher, one of the ELSAs (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) or Mrs. Rainford (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Information, guidance and support
New Child and Adolescent Mental Health - Mymind.org.uk
The National Autistic Society click here
How to talk to children about death, loss and bereavement - BBC Tiny Happy People
How to help your child deal with uncertainty and change - BBC Tiny Happy People
Emotional development in children: How to help children understand their emotions - BBC Tiny Happy People
Young Minds - click here for a parent's guide to support
Children's mental health - Every Mind Matters - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Child mental health: recognising and responding to issues | NSPCC Learning