Massage in Schools

The massage in Schools Programme is an easy, accessible and effective tool for improving quality of life for children in school. The intention is simple; to give children the opportunity to experience nurturing touch at school in a safe way. The Massage in Schools Programme will enable children to interact and communicate in a different way.

During our course, children will explore respect through positive touch. Respect is crucial when working with the Massage in Schools Programme, the principle of respect is encouraged and required at many levels within the programme. This reinforces safeguarding principles and promotes empowerment for children, who have the right to be asked to be touched and equally, decline if they are uncomfortable. It enables children to feel in control of their body and experience what safe touch feels like.

Numerous studies and research have been conducted into the benefits of massage. In the school environment, there are specific benefits that have been observed and acknowledged by many teachers and educators who have experienced using it in their classrooms. Additionally, parents are often impressed with the positive influence massage has on their children and family. Official studies carried out on massage itself, state, amongst other things that massage helps to strengthen immune system, lower stress levels and increase the production of relaxing hormones. We are aware that the children massaging each other are not therapists, nor are they conducting deep tissue massage, however, because it is still massage, albeit a simple one, the body systems are still affected positively.

Benefits for the child
• The opportunity to learn and experiences saying "yes or no" to touch
• A feeling of being individually perceived and acknowledged
• Relaxation and reduction of stress levels, promoting concentration
• Developing greater respect and tolerance for peers

Benefits for the teacher
• More harmony within the classroom with calmer, happier children
• Stronger peer relationships, built upon respect
• Easier and smoother classroom management, with lower noise levels within the classroom
• Calmer class environment

Benefits for the school
• A sense of unity in the school, a shared experience and benchmark of respect
• Practical and proactive approach to address bullying with calmer, happier and more positive children
• Structured routine which actively promotes well-being
• A sense of school identity

Benefits for parents
When the child brings the MISP home, parents begin to understand the value, both for their children and themselves. Parents have experienced: • A positive interaction which helps to calm children
• Bonding and increased respect and co-operation between siblings
• Stronger relationships, created through positive touch, promoting bonding and attachment
• Calmer child when arriving home from school
• An activity which child and parent share together
• Improved sleep

The MISP routine
The basic routine consists of a series of simple movements that can evoke images, thereby engaging the child's natural faculty of imagination. All children are taught the same basic routine, and they do these movements over clothes on each other's back, arms and face.

Creating time for the routine
Initially, each class will have a 30 minutes session, once a week, over 6 weeks, led by a qualified instructor. There is an expectation for the class teacher to practice this routine twice a week, if not daily, with the children, which usually takes 20 minutes, whilst the children are becoming familiar with the techniques. Once the class is confident with the routine and it has been mastered by the children, the entire routine takes no longer than 15 minutes per pair and it would be expected that the school timetable this into the school day. In our experience, we find that the teacher becomes the facilitator and the children are confident to lead sessions themselves.
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