Primary school children’s perspectives and experiences of Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) support

Authors: Bonnie Wong, Danielle Cripps, Hayley White, Laura Young, Hanna Kovshoff, Hayley Pinkard and Colin Woodcock
Published: 2020
Publication: Educational Psychology in Practice

This study explores primary school aged children’s perspectives and experiences of their Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) support. Thematic analysis was employed to analyse qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with 12 Key Stage 2 participants, who had had a minimum of one month’s ongoing ELSA support. Four core themes were identified: positive relationships, unique qualities, facilitates skill development, and positive impact. The findings suggest the importance of a positive therapeutic relationship with an ELSA, and that children value ELSAs teaching specific individualised coping strategies in particular. The findings may also be pertinent to practitioners outside of ELSA related work, highlighting the importance of listening to children of all ages and employing alternative methods, such as drawing, to support them in sharing their views. Since the evidence base for ELSA support is limited, this study contributes children’s views to this area, and should be used to inform future research.

Wong, B., Cripps, D., White, H., Young, L., Kovshoff, H., Pinkard, H. & Woodcock, C. (2020) Primary school children’s perspectives and experiences of Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) support. Educational Psychology in Practice. DOI: 10.1080/02667363.2020.1781064

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