Roger Brown, OFSTED Inspector, December 2005
The Massage in Schools Programme was created by two inspirational women Mia Elmsater & Sylvie Hetu. The child-to-child massage programme has been developed as an inclusive whole school strategy for reducing children’s stress levels, aggression and bullying. The MISP is a well-structured yet simple programme. The clothed, peer massage is:
The MISP is an effective tool for improving child mental health and has had positive benefits for the children participating, such as improved concentration and increased confidence. Children are empowered to make choices and they develop respect for the needs and feelings of others. Members of the school community and parents are consulted before implementing the Massage in Schools Programme, which links to aspects of the school curriculum.
It takes 10 minutes over 6 weeks per class and positive touch activities also contribute to schools’ teaching and learning styles. The programme has been implemented in schools throughout the UK and many of them have reported the following benefits and effects:
The children enjoy it and here are some children’s quotes:
I like doing the massage because it is calm and gentle.
Since starting the massage I do not get bullied because I am friendlier
When I give massage I feel good because I feel like I have helped someone relax.
Massage makes me feel happy and I have loads more friends
Since doing massage my handwriting is better.
Children enjoy it very much. It creates a calm environment and children become more careful about the way they behave towards others. They are thoughtful and considerate. Parents and other staff can see the benefits. Children have learnt how to respect each other and be polite. Children have enjoyed working with all their peers. It calms children after lunch so they are ready for the afternoon session.
It encourages tactile learning .It supports our anti-bullying policy. Children are more caring to each other, especially those who have not shown this side of their nature.
Incidents of ‘negative touch’ have definitely decreased since establishing the massage daily. Some strong relationships have formed between massage partners who would not otherwise have been friends.
Joe enjoys the massage sessions. He is very good at relieving headaches and stress when massaging me. He also massages his disabled sister.
Parent of boy in year 5.
Milly was very enthusiastic about the massage programme and loved to try out all the new moves. I enjoyed being her guinea pig! I liked the way each technique was given a 'child friendly' name.
Parent of child in year 3
The Massage in Schools Programme is a high quality inclusive programme that can be used creatively within all curriculum areas and age groups and links to areas of current government initiatives relating to children, such as Every Child Matters.
“The Massage In Schools Programme is a fun, whole school, preventative strategy for promoting respect and reducing bullying. It is a strategy that I feel should be considered by all primary schools fitting, as it does, into all the below initiatives.”
John Stead - NSPCC Education Advisor and DfES anti-bullying co-ordinator for West Yorkshire
The diagram below shows the different ways you can use the MISP in your school’s curriculum.
However the MISP offers much more, including the following benefits: