Bruton Primary School

Part of the East Somerset Federation which includes Ditcheat Primary School and Upton Noble C of E VC Primary School

ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)

Hello and welcome to Bruton Primary School ELSA page!  My name is Mrs Stokes, and I am the school ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)



To become an ELSA, I have undergone further training by Educational Psychologists and regularly attend supervision sessions to develop my skills and knowledge. This enables me to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs.


In the ELSA sessions I 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


If you have any concerns or any questions, I am contactable via the ELSA email address:


On this page I aim to post ideas and helpful advice on how you can help your child; for example: in areas such as empathy, self-esteem or perhaps to pick up some tips about calming techniques. You will also be able to find out about recommended books which may be useful and links to other websites for some self-help at home.


Take care and warmest wishes

Mrs Stokes


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 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.


ELSA work will be delivered either on an individual basis, or in small groups that focus on certain areas such as social and friendship skills. 


Sessions are fun, lasting 20-30 minutes -using a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or therapeutic activities such as mindfulness or arts and craft.  ELSA sessions take place in our very own Wellbeing area called ‘The Nest’ which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.


How does ELSA work?

Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders or SENCo. The referral forms are then discussed to identify and prioritise which children require a weekly programme for the next 6-12 weeks. With the programme aims in mind I then 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

It is important to remember ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems. What we can do is provide a safe space and 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.


It needs to be appreciated that change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly and is dependent upon the context and complexity of the presenting issues. For children with complex or long-term needs it is unrealistic to expect ELSA intervention to resolve all their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need. 


*** Parents Self-Help Section! ***


Here are some different websites online which offer help and advice to parents.


Do you have an anxious child?

Follow the link below for some useful guidance on helping your child overcome anxieties:

49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child (

Books aimed at Supporting Children with their Worries

What To Do When You Worry Too Much (A child's guide to overcoming anxiety) by Dawn Huebner is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioural techniques most often used in the treatment of generalised anxiety.  Engaging, encouraging and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates and empowers children to work towards change.  We have used this book at school and have found it a very useful tool. 


*** A story book recommended for younger children***


Similar to 'Huge bag Of Worries', by Virginia Ironside, Ruby discovers that recognising and sharing a worry is a first step towards shrinking the worry. In Elsa sessions we recognise the feelings of worry, maybe a knot in the tummy or other feelings like being sad or grumpy, then we talk about worries and then we can try strategies to help with the uncomfortable feelings that anxiety can cause.


Self Esteem

Is your child having problems with self-esteem? Try following this link which gives some useful advice to parents/carers:

Helping your child build self-esteem - Family Lives


Parental Advice on Anger Management

Help with those 'hot feelings' - some tips and information for parents/carers about managing anger in children:

Anger Management Tips for Children | Scholastic | Parents


An anger management story for children written by Lori Lite. Children relate to the angry octopus in this story as the sea child shows him how to take a deep breath, calm down and manage his anger. Children love to unwind and relax with this fun exercise known as progressive muscular relaxation. This effective stress and anger management technique focuses awareness on various muscle groups and breath to create a complete resting of the mind and body. This is a great little story to help children understand that they are in control of their emotions. It focuses on the ownership of feelings and emotions and taking command of the situation. 


The Nest

We are very lucky to have our very own Wellbeing and safe space area within the school – ‘The Nest’, as mentioned before is where the ELSA base is situated.  This indoor and outdoor space is designed with several calming features to help regulate and create a safe and reassuring space for the children to go to when they may need time away from class.