Infant School

Aiming High, Achieving Together


Therapeutic Active Listening Assistant (TALA)

TALA offers an emotionally safe and supportive space in which pupils can explore their feelings and experiences. They are heard by the practitioner on a deep level using active listening. Practitioners listen to a child's views, experiences and feelings without judgement in an atmosphere of respect and empathy based on a secure and trusting working relationship.

How it works is that the child has a regular slot during the week for a targeted period of time (around 30-45 mins). It usually runs for around six weeks but can be longer. Sessions are confidential, offering the child an opportunity to talk about things that concern them.


The sessions are one to one and are very pupil led involving play based activities where required.


Not only does TALA offer a child a safe place to talk it supports them in many other areas:

  • Cope better with issues, concerns and situations
  • Achieve some level of understanding with regard to thoughts, emotions and behaviours
  • Accept their limitations and strengths and to feel ok about them
  • Change behaviours which have negative consequences
  • Look at things differently
  • Maximise the opportunity to reach their full potential
  • Empowers pupils to find their own resolutions and build resilience for the future.


TALA and ELSA do have differences. ELSA involves the identification of specific emotional literacy targets towards which the child works, guided by the ELSA through a carefully planned programme of support. Whilst ELSA's deliver skills based programmes, TALA's sessions are more pupil led with the TALA practitioner facilitating a helping conversation using counselling practices. Simply put, ELSA teaches skills and TALA offers a time to talk.


Mrs Bird, our trained ELSA, is currently undertaking training for TALA. Parents will be notified when she is qualified and we are ready to deliver TALA support.