An ELSA is a specialist teaching assistant with a wealth of experience of working with children. ELSA's are trained and regularly supervised by the Education Psychologists in your Local Education Authority. An ELSA is a warm and caring person who wants to help your child feel happy in school and reach their potential educationally and emotionally. Their aim is to remove the barriers to learning and to happy children in school and at home.
Within our school we have one member of staff fully trained as an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. The ELSA can support with:
- Loss and bereavement
- Social skills
- Friendship issues
- Anger management
- Relaxation techniques
Attachment and Trauma In Children
Over the last 12 months the staff at St Jude's have been learning about how Attachment and Trauma influences a child's social and emotional development. We know that sometimes, as adults, we find ourselves in difficult situations and that we are not always emotionally equipped to deal with and we can repeat unhelpful patterns of behaviour from our own childhood experiences. It is estimated that 40 % or 12 children in each class of 30 have experienced childhood adversity. Children are complicated and parents and teachers can sometimes confuse unresolved trauma with developmental disorders such as ADHD and Autism, as children will often present with similar behaviours. Diagnosis for Autism and ADHD are accessed through CAMHs,see the link below:
Please talk to your class teacher if you are concerned about your child.
What is Attachment Theory ?
" A lasting psychological attachment between human beings," Bowlby 1969
We know that it is extremely important for babies to bond with a main care giver from birth and that disruption to these attachment cycles , particularly in the first two years of life, can have a detrimentally effect on a child's development. Please look at these two links below from Beacon House for an expert explanation of attachment and what we as adults can do to support children who may have experienced trauma.
How are we supporting children at St Jude's ?
Over the last twelve months all teachers and Teaching Assistants have received Attachment and Trauma training. We have reviewed and adapted our School Behaviour Policy to be more attachment aware; promoting restorative conversations with children and ensuring our rules are clear to all children from Reception to Year 6 :
- Be Safe
- Be Ready
- Be Respectful
We have reviewed our class environments to ensure that there are resources that can help children when they feel disregulated. Children are aware that they can use the Calm Corners when needed. We emotionally check-in with the children using emotions boards or visual cards. Finally, through the continued promotion of strong adult child relationships throughout the school, we aim to be intune with the needs of our children.
As parents, we ask that you work with us to support your child in their social emotional development and whilst we have a dedicated and highy trained ELSA , any initial concerns should be referred to your child's class teacher who can then arrange a meeting to discuss matters with you.
Talking to children about conflict
With so much on the news about the conflict in the Ukraine I thought it would be useful to add some advice/tips about talking to your children. As always you know your children best so should always look over or watch articles before deciding whether you feel it is appropriate to share with your child. I think most important is for children to be able to ask questions and share there worries, these articles may help you decide how to answer them.
The British Psychological Society has produced this very helpful article.
The following was discussed in an ELSA forum as good advice whilst talking to children after any unsettling/frighting event.
1.Find out what they know and correct any misconceptions.Children do hear things on the news, on the playground and they may not fully understand what has happened. Find out what they know and then you are able to explain gently and in an age appropriate way so they can have some understanding of the situation. Encourage questions and answer as honestly as you can without causing distress. Think of the age of the child and their potential level of understanding. 2.Express feelings Feelings are important. There may be a whole range of feelings around a frightening event from sadness to anxiety to anger. Encourage your child to express how they feel about an event and don’t be scared of expressing your feelings too. Don’t hold back the tears if you feel sad. Children need to see it is ok to let your feelings out. Use drawing or puppets to help children express their feelings. 3.Shield very young children from disturbing images on the TV There is absolutely no need for children to see scary and frightening images on TV. This is something that does need shielding from your children. They will not understand and it could cause a lot of fear and anxiety. Shielding images and news on TV is not shielding them from what has happened. You can explain that to them in a truthful and age appropriate way. 4. Risk Assessment Children are often scared that this might happen to them. Look at risks in life and how likely or unlikely things may happen. We just hear about them more on the news so it seems like a real threat and that it might happen anytime. 5. Routines, routines, routines Keep to your child’s normal routines and don’t change them. Children feel safer when things carry on as normal.
Lastly, some tips from the Newsround group for children if they are upset by the news.
Please find below details of an amazing service, which offers £15 worth of food/toiletries for £5. You pick out from their selection what you need. You just to go along and fill out a very basic form. They do not ask for any ID or proof of circumstances.
Waypoint Hub - Community Pantry
255 Hunts Pond Road
This week they are open: Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 9am-12 noon
Please do make use of this service if you need to, as it is the use of it which helps it continue running.
Online workshop for Parents/Carers
Please find above the link to an online workshop for parents and carers dealing with anxiety in children ( age 4-11) and also a workshop for Year 6 children who are about to transition to secondary school.
These both look like interesting workshops which includes strategies for children to manage their anxieties and ways to help prepare your children for secondary school.
Please book using the link below the workshop you would like to join. There is a small cost of £10( plus online booking fee).
Getting fit, keeping healthy.
I have been looking at how the past year has affected our health and fitness with regards to our children. Lots of us tried to keep active by joining in the exercise programmes such as Joe Wicks online but it is a fact that during lockdown it was harder to keep active. This has resulted in many of us gaining weight and not being as fit as we would like. Children especially missed out on a lot of the afterschool activities they used to attend, as well as school P.E, play and lunchtimes. Luckily things are starting to get back to normal so I thought it may be useful to share some websites and apps that help with tips for healthy eating and healthy family recipes.
These sites all promote increased activity, healthy balanced diet and portion control. All of these combined help us feel more healthy and alert. Please take the time to look through the websites as there are some really good tips and recipes that you many find useful now or sometime in the future.
The app is a great way for children to see how much sugar is in products before you buy them, the children can see the sugar cubes drop down so gives them a visual rather than you just telling them. I had a go with it and it really is quite shocking how many sugar cubes are in a bottle of juice!
Anyone who has any questions regarding their child's health or diet are welcome to email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile phone app
Change4Life Food Scanner
I hope you find these information flyers helpful. They can be a useful tool for dealing with different situations. Please familiarise yourself with them so you can refer back at any time.
SCHOOL NURSING SERVICE WELL-BEING PACKS.
Please find below the link to a well-being pack for 0-5 year olds and one for school age children. These are both from the school nursing service so as always will have lots of useful tips and information.
School re-opening advice.
As we enter our final week before school re-opens to all pupils, I thought it might be beneficial to share some tips on preparing the children during their last week of home schooling.
As we know our children are very resilient to change but any preparation can help with any anxieties that they may feel, and can allow them to share anything that is worrying them about coming back to school.
Morning routine .
- Please start waking your children at the same time as you would for school. I'm sure we have all had some slower mornings but it would help your children to get used to getting up in time to get ready for school without a rush, which can cause more stress.
- Please encourage your children to wash their face, brush their hair and their teeth. All of these things whilst important for good health and hygiene also helps the child to feel fresh and awake.
- I cannot stress enough the importance of a healthy breakfast. Again, you have possibly been having breakfast later so please start having breakfast at an earlier time to get children back in the pattern before next Monday.
School uniform and equipment.
I'm sure like everyone the children have been enjoying being in their PJ's and tracksuits! Coming back to school the children will be back to wearing their full school uniform. Some children find wearing the school uniform restricting and uncomfortable. If this is the case please make some time to get the children to wear their clothes, checking it all still fits comfortably. Please also ensure children bring in a coat even on the brighter days as it can become chilly on the playgrounds.
Please take the time to organise P.E kits and bookbags etc. Being organised in advice will help alleviate any stresses on Monday morning.
Back to school story.
Please follow this link for a story that you could discuss with your child to prepare them for coming back to school. Sharing this enables your child to ask you any questions they are unsure of.
'Looking forward to' questions.
Use this week to talk about school. Weaving in positive questions can help children create a 'looking forward to' picture in their mind. For example.. What friends are you most looking forward to seeing? Do you remember what you liked best about P.E/Outdoor play/ICT? What you think your teacher will most like about you and your friends coming back? What is your favourite school dinner?
If your child says they have worries about coming back it is important to acknowledge this. You can explain that some other children will be feeling the same but that their teachers are there to support them.
As before, parents are not allowed on site at the present time. Please remind children that you will be leaving them at the gate, where staff will greet them. Staff will be wearing masks apart from when they are in the classrooms. Again, please leave plenty of time to get to school without it being a rush.
The school day may feel like a long one for the children until they get used to being back at school. As well as the change in routines etc, the emotional impact can be exhausting for some children. Please allow your child time to relax, try not to overload them will questions straight away. Maybe allow them a snack before doing reading/ homework.
Please ensure that this week the children get back to a good routine and into bed at a reasonable time for their age group. If children have being staying up later it make take a while for their body to readjust to an earlier time. As we know tired children are so much harder to motivate in the morning!
I will include a couple of links below to sites you might feel useful. Please take a look and use whatever appropriate.
Downloadable booklet supporting mental health returning to school.
CAHMS ( Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).
Please find two links below. One to the Hampshire CAHMS website which has a wealth of help and advice for parents/carers, and a link to the CAHMS facebook page which often has uplifting messages, tips and advice for both parents and carers.
5th February 2021
Please find the link for a wonderful book called Lucy's Blue day, explaining to children about how our emotions can change from day to day. Just like adults it is perfectly natural for children to have 'a bad day', a day when they are not feeling as chirpy as usual, maybe a little bit down. This does not mean there is a concern unless it was to go on for a longer period of time. I hope you can share and discuss this Youtube book together and that it may allay some parents concerns.
1st February 2021
Children's mental health week 1-7th February 2021
This week is Children's Mental Health week, the theme this year is 'Express Yourself'. In school and at a home we will be encouraging the children to look at different ways they can express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through creative ways such as art, music, drama, poetry, etc. using different mediums can allow children who sometimes find it hard to talk about their feeling express themselves in a way easier to them.
This week it would be lovely if the children could produce a piece of art using pencils, paint, magazine cut outs, any collage materials showing their 'Happy place'. This could be completely imaginary and abstract, or it could be a beach, garden or somewhere they have a happy memory of. The children can decide to make it colourful using lots of colours, black and white or choose to just use one colour. The whole idea is that this is not directed and that the child is free to express themselves through their artwork. If you could take a photo and email to me I will print some off and make a display in school. Please write a brief description with the work. Most importantly have fun!!
My email address email@example.com
Mrs Hearnden's happy place. 'A sunny beach'.
I thought I would share with you one of my very favourite books. I am sure some of you will might have seen or read it before. It is just such a lovely read. Enjoy this YouTube video of ' The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse'.
Please find below the link to a website dedicated to Children's Mental Health. It has some lovely resources and some advice for parents and carers.
Unravel is a website written by specialist psychologists and practitioners offering advice and support for families. There is a wealth of information on this site that might be helpful for parents/carers.
Another site with advice for parents and carers.
Family Well Being Pack.
Please find below a pack from the School Nursing Service that is full of information, helpline advice and ideas for supporting your family during the current situation.
With the current situation families can be finding themselves stretched financially and trying to feed our children nutritious meals can be hard. Please find below a link to a NHS site giving amazing ideas of making cheap healthy lunches for your family.
Please also be aware that besides Henry Cort school in the community centre there is the Hampshire Food Revolution group. They are open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. They are a group which prevent food waste and are able to offer help with feeding your family if you are struggling. If you google 'Hampshire food revolution' it will take you too their Facebook page that has more details.
In Fareham and Gosport we also have the amazing food banks. At the present time you do not have to wait to be referred by someone, you can phone the following numbers and leave a message and they will get back to you.
Gosport 07826 305900
Fareham 077808 305795
28th January 2021
I know parents and children are starting to find it hard with the home learning and not seeing their friends. I will re attach the links to the Covid-19 stories that you can share with your children to help them understand why they are at home and are not able to see their friends. This is a difficult time for everyone and it is important that we explain to children in an age appropriate way what is happening at the present time. We obviously cannot give a date as to when school will be 'normal' so just have to explain that for now this is how we are having to work. If it is possible for children to speak on the phone, facetime or zoom with their friends in a safe manner then that would clearly benefit those children finding it hard. Please also remember that children could send a card/postcard to their friend to say hello and they may hopefully get a reply!
21st January 2021
Good afternoon Parents and Carers,
At the present time our children's usual routines have most likely been turned upside down and they can be finding the changes difficult to cope with.
Please find below the link to a lovely resource sent to us by the primary Behaviour Support service. Once you have clicked on the link it brings you to the power point, then click on view, then reading view and it will make the slides full screen.
It has some amazing advice on positive parenting, structure and routine, sleep, diet, as well as many other helpful tips. Please take the time to look through the slides as there might be something which could be of use to you.
I hope you are all well.
18th January 2021
Good evening St Jude's.
I hope you enjoyed our first week of sharing the well being resource. Hopefully you have liked meeting our new characters and learnt some new vocabulary to use whilst trying out the activities. For our second week we will meet the same characters and expand our understanding of them.
We start with Mighty Monday, helping us to gain confidence and believe in our abilities.
Enjoy and stay safe!
Week 3 25th January 2021
11th January 2021
Good afternoon Parents and Carers.
I will be adding an well-being character power point each day for the next few weeks which have slides you can share and discuss with your children. Each day has a focus to help children's wellbeing. I will also add the occasional resource again that you can share. I appreciate that these are tricky times for us all and you may feel that your children needs to express any worries they might have. As always I think encouraging your children to express any of their thoughts and answer any questions as honestly as you can helps the children to process what is going on in our world. It is also important that you sometimes say you cannot answer some questions as you don't have the answer to it. I hope you are all keeping well and staying safe. I look forward to the time when we can all be together again.
On Monday we look at being 'mighty'. The focus is on bravery and confidence. Children can focus on that strength of character and can find ways to increase their confidence and bravery.
On Tuesday we look at being 'thoughtful'. The focus is on being thoughtful and kind. How we can help others and think about other people's feelings?
On Wednesday we look at 'wishes' . The focus is on goals and wishes . How can we set a goal and reach that goal. How will that make us feel?
On Thursday we look at 'thankfulness'. The focus is on gratitude and looking for those little things we appreciate. This will help our positive outlook on life.
On Friday we look at 'friendship'. The focus is on friendship and how connecting with friends is important for our well-being. It will also look at qualities of friendship.
On Saturday we look at 'self-care'. The focus is on looking after minds and bodies by doing things that make us feel good.
On Sundays we look at 'successes'. The focus is on celebrating our achievements that week. If we look hard enough there is always something to be proud of.
These items can be looked in any order, whenever you feel they may be useful.
Many thanks to @ELSASupport for resources.
Happy Friday St Jude's!
I hope you have had a good week whether you are in school or at home. It is really important that as well as doing our home learning we take care of ourselves and our well-being. I hope the power points have been something you have shared with your family and hopefully got them to join in some of the activities. It might feel silly but saying the affirmations a number of times but it really does embed what we had learnt and can help us have a positive mental attitude. Remember to get some fresh air or exercise! Have a lovely weekend with your family.
Good afternoon everyone,
I hope you have had a lovely Easter break! I realise that this year it has felt very different but hopefully you had a break from schoolwork and managed to enjoy the lovely weather.
I thought I could add some relaxing technics today. Obviously the children are now getting used to your new routines at home, some children will be embracing the changes but some may be finding it harder being away from school and missing their friends. During times of change it can cause anxiety in some children. Having quiet times, with time to talk and reflect on these changes can help. I hope some of them may be of use to you.
9This is a lovely resources to help children regulate their breathing. A useful tool to practice at any time so they have the skills to use in times of upset or high emotions.)
A calm down basket can be a useful tool for children to have during a quiet time. Some ideas are below:
- Exercise books/paper with some coloured pencils for them to doodle with.
- Bubble wrap for popping
- Squidgy balls which you squish and squeeze
- Feathers for mindful breathing practice
- Pebbles or stones
- Stretchy people
- Crayons and paper for ‘anger scribbling’
- Cuddly toy
- Mindful colouring sheets
- Paper clips for making paperclip chains
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Paper for ripping
- things to count
- Whiteboards and pens
- Small bag of lego bricks
- Dot to dot
- Glitter bottle ( you can find examples of these on the internet).
This is a very useful site for parents and carers alike which focuses on emotional health. It has lots of useful guidance and resources for families, including ways to deal with tricky behaviour, calm down time, problem solving also suggestions of things to do with your children, internet safety etc, a large percentage of which is free. Topics include empathy, giving praise effectively,.
To access the parents section you click on the three lines in the top right hand corner, scroll down and click on Parent Zone , from there you can choose whichever section interests you.
Good afternoon Everyone
I hope you had a good first week with your children. I thought I would share with you a lovely poem that you might like to share with your children. An uplifting poem where we can all look forward to the day when life goes back to normal. The Author is unknown.
The Time We Spring-Cleaned the World.
The world it got so busy,
There were people all around.
They left their germs behind them;
In the air and on the ground.
These germs grew bigger and stronger.
They wanted to come and stay.
They didn’t want to hurt anyone -
They just really wanted to play.
Sometimes they tried to hold your hand,
Or tickled your throat or your nose.
They could make you cough and sneeze
And make your face as red as a rose.
And so these germs took over.
They started to make people ill,
And with every cough we coughed
More and more germs would spill.
All the queens and kings had a meeting.
“It’s time to clean the world up!” they said.
And so they had to close lots of fun stuff,
Just so these germs couldn’t spread.
We couldn’t go to cinemas
Or restaurants for our tea.
There was no football or parties,
The world got as quiet as can be.
The kids stopped going to school,
The mums and dads went to work less.
Then a great, big, giant scrubbing brush
Cleaned the sky and the sea and the mess!
Dads started teaching the sums,
Big brothers played with us more,
Mums were in charge of homework
And we read and played jigsaws galore!
The whole world was washing their hands
And building super toilet roll forts!
Outside was quiet and peaceful,
Now home was the place for all sports.
So we played in the world that was home
And our days filled up with fun and love,
And the germs they grew smaller and smaller
And the sun watched from up above.
Then one morning the sun woke up early,
She smiled and stretched her beams wide.
The world had been fully spring cleaned,
It was time to go back outside!
We opened our doors oh so slowly
And breathed in the clean and fresh air.
We promised that forever and always
Of this beautiful world we’d take care!
Good morning Parents/Carers
I hope you are all well and coping with the changes in your usual daily routines. Thinking about the emotional well-being of us all, is very important at this time, so that that in mind I will be posting various ideas and activities every few days.
You, as parents/carers, know your child/children best, so I advise you look over any material first and, if you think appropriate, use whenever you wish. You may feel your child is coping well with the changes but you may also feel that they are feeling anxious, they may or may not be asking you questions about the information they are hearing. It is sensible to answer questions as simply as possible, being careful not to give more information than necessary. Some children struggle with the change in routine and if at all possible it is proven beneficial to make your own daily timetable. This does not have to be stringently stuck to, but can help everyone feel secure with the day ahead.
I will begin by posting some stories that, if and when you feel appropriate you could share with your child. These were written by a fellow ELSA and are completely child friendly. Again, I am not suggesting you read them all in one go but use one at a time, if appropriate.
I have added 2 resources for you to do with your children.
Children clearly need times where they can be active, we all know the benefits of exercise and fresh air. A short walk/bike/scooter ride adhering to the governments advice on social distancing can really help children's mental well-being ( and yours too!). You can also find, on Youtube Joe Wicks PE sessions live at 9am daily, but they can be accessed anytime. There are also yoga sessions by Cosmic Kids available.
I think above all else have fun with your children, watch films, play games, cook, share books and do some arts and crafts.