For schools who value happy and well-balanced students, the ELSA scheme is a fantastic initiative. Training up learning support assistants as Emotional Literacy Support Assistants, ELSA enables schools to offer vital emotional support to pupils, without the need to recruit specialist staff. But although extra staffing resources aren’t needed, many schools still lack an appropriate place to hold ELSA sessions. What are the options for schools in this position? Here we take a look at how to provide an ELSA room within your school.
What should an elsa room include?
Whether you have a whole classroom at your disposal or you have to make do with a small corner or corridor, there’s lots you can do to make your ELSA space a welcoming environment for pupils. A consciously child-centred learning environment will make all the difference to how students feel about the space, and will help them to feel relaxed about the sessions. An ELSA space can be set up easily with a few simple additions:
- A relaxing space can be created by scattering cushions or bean bags on the floor.
- A sensory area is a great tool for ELSA sessions. Items like lights, scarves, squidgy toys and other varied objects can all be included.
- A flexible configuration is useful, so pupils can arrange themselves in a circle or sit more formally at a table depending on the activity.
- Privacy for ELSA is important. Try to ensure that you won’t be disturbed during your session.
You can get lots more great ideas for setting up an ELSA room on the ELSA Support website.
SchoolsA DEDICATED SPACE FOR ELSA
You may need to bide your time before the benefits are noted, but if you can persuade your decision makers that ELSA is worth the investment, a dedicated ELSA room is sure to be a valuable resource for your school. In addition to ELSA space, the new room could also double up as a meeting room or other useful asset for the school.
Effective learning environments really do make a difference to student wellbeing. They even have an impact on academic achievement. Designed well, a pupil-centred learning space used for ELSA will help students to feel at ease and develop their emotional intelligence alongside their academic learning – which will have solid and lasting knock-on benefits for your school community.
The practicalities of constructing a new classroom don’t need to be difficult. Using modular construction techniques, we at Vertis can erect a room dedicated for ELSA purposes within as little as three weeks, and finance options are available to help schools budget for the cost.
As education specialists, we have the design expertise to deliver great solutions for schools. With experience in designing a wide range of modern learning environments that bring out the best in both students and teachers, Vertis is the go-to choice for schools and nurseries requiring extra outdoor classrooms.