Heatherlands Primary School

Enjoying Learning Together

Children's wellbeing and mental health, including ELSA

Emotional Well-being Practitioner


Clare is a 'Emotional Well-being Practitioner.' She is a mother of two school age children and has spent many years working in the field of Mental Well-Being. In addition to being a qualified nurse, she has also undertaken further training which allows her to diversify in her work. Clare believes passionately in supporting people of all ages to be at ease with their needs, reaching out for support and education to gain skills to manage their well-being in our ever evolving world.


As an Emotional Well-being Practitioner, Clare is qualified to offer a safe, warm and open space for our pupils. Within this space, pupils will be encouraged to value their own voice and be heard with empathy and a non-judgmental approach. Clare may use age appropriate tools and play to support the pupils' emotional literacy skills, supporting them to articulate their needs in such a way which enables them to be better understood. Clare will not be able to promise the child total confidentiality, as this may inhibit the additional support which they may deserve, however she will promote safety and inclusion in all aspects of her work.


The Navigator


The Navigator works for BCP council and works in partnership with your child’s school, to ensure you have tailored support to meet the needs of your family, to achieve the best outcomes for your child. 


“Our dedication is to ensure there is the right service, right time, right child, right outcome.” 


Services we offer 

·       Direct work with children at school. 

·       Delivering parenting programs. 

·       1-1 parenting support.

·       Targeted group sessions for families. 

·       Support to identify and access services. 

·       Support with your child accessing school. 

·       Supporting the relationship between school and families. 

·       Drop-in sessions. 


At Heatherlands, our school navigator is Helen. Please speak to one of 'The Arc' team if you would like any further information or support from the navigator.


Play Therapy


Esther is a trainee play therapist who is supporting children at Heatherlands Primary School by helping young minds process big emotions through the sessions.


What is Play Therapy?

Play is the language of children and the way they make sense of the world. Play therapy is an opportunity for your child to communicate through play at their own level and pace, without having to answer questions or verbally explain what is troubling them. In a calm and safe play room, they meet one-to-one with a therapist and choose from a selection of toys, games, art and craft materials. The play therapist is led by the child, watching and listening to the stories they tell, joining in the play and gently supporting, without judgement the expression of feelings.


At Heatherlands, your child is initially offered 10 sessions with Esther, a fully qualified counsellor and trainee play therapist with 11 years experience working with children. Changes and progress are reviewed mid-point with parents/carers and teachers and additional sessions offered, if agreed this would be in the best interest of your child.


How can Play Therapy help my child?

Play therapy helps children understand muddled feelings and upsetting experiences that they haven’t yet processed and may have difficulty putting into words. It’s empowering for the child, helping them make sense of their past and present in order to cope better with the future. The benefits of play therapy can be general, eg. reduced anxiety and stronger self-esteem, or more specific, such as focussed concentration at school and improved relationships with family and friends.


The Therapeutic Relationship and Confidentiality

Central to Play Therapy is the trusting, non-judgemental relationship between child and therapist. The child is accepted unconditionally and feels safe and understood. Specific details of what they say and do are not disclosed unless there is a safeguarding concern. This confidentiality agreement is essential, to build and maintain the child’s trust and feelings of safety with the therapist.


Visit for child-friendly ways to chat about play therapy and answer questions your child may have.


Trick Box


As part of our school well-being approach, we are using Trick Box, which is a fun and effective personal development programme to help children: -
-    build confidence
-    manage emotions and anxiety
-    develop communication skills
-    make positive choice about actions
-    coach themselves through challenges.


Children across the school will be introduced to 24 ‘tricks’ and a simple self-coaching model called Letter Box, designed to give them positive habits for life. The tricks will help the children to build their confidence and communication skills, manage emotions and find solutions to challenges.They will be practising the tricks at school.



  • Trickbox website

  • Trick Box is a simple, fun and effective whole school, whole journey, emotional management and personal development programme, supporting children and young people in Early Years, key stages 1-5 and their families. Evidence based and developing mental wellbeing in line with DFE guidelines, Trick Box programmes develop positive life habits to help deal with challenges in the here and now as well as building a repertoire of personal skills for the future.



What is an ELSA?

Emotional Literacy Support Assistant


What ELSAs are able to do is provide emotional support. As they establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil they provide a reflective space where the pupil is able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings. The ELSA uses basic counselling skills (including active listening, problem clarification, open questions, thinking aloud, verbal and non-verbal prompts) to guide helping conversations. ELSA isn't there to 'fix' the child for pupils with complex or long-term needs. It is unrealistic to expect ELSA support to resolve all their difficulties. Change is a long term process that needs everyone's help.


An ELSA will assist the pupil to reflect on their concerns and let them explore possible strategies and solutions for themselves, (‘Could you imagine another way of responding in that situation?’ ‘How do you think x was feeling at that moment?’ ‘What would you have liked to have been able to say/do?’ ‘What do you think might have happened if…?’). Through working together, the ELSA and the child will devise personal strategies to practice and support them in their daily lives.

Useful Resources

Other books from the series can be found from the website:

Pupil Voice

These is what the children at Heatherlands think about our ELSA sessions: -


"I feel a lot more confident because I was in the group 'self-esteem and confidence'. It has made me speak out more and just be me. It has helped me a lot. Happily, I'm not so shy anymore like I was." (Year 5 Pupil).

Wellbeing Week Daily Resources


Mondays we look at being ‘mighty’

The focus is on bravery and confidence. Pupils will focus on that strength of character and will find ways to increase their confidence and bravery.


Tuesdays we look at being ‘thoughtful’

The focus is on being thoughtful and kind. How they can help others and think about other people’s feelings.


Wednesdays we look at ‘wishes’

The focus is on goals and wishes. How they can set a goal and reach that goal. How that will make them feel.


Thursdays we look at ‘thankfulness’

The focus is on gratitude and looking for those little things we appreciate. This will help their positive outlook on life.


Fridays we look at ‘friendship’

The focus is on friendship and how connecting with friends is important for their wellbeing. It will also look at qualities of friendship.


Saturdays we look at ‘self-care’

The focus is on looking after minds and bodies by doing things that make them feel good.


Sundays we look at ‘successes’

The focus is on celebrating their achievements that week. If you look hard enough there is always something to be proud of.

Supporting children with anxiety

What is a senior mental health lead?


The Senior Mental Health Lead champions efforts to promote and support mental health and wellbeing, bringing about strategic change to deliver an effective whole school approach.

Looking after your mental health

Parenting with a mental health difficulty