Massage In Schools Programme
The Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) is an international programme of positive touch and clothed peer massage (child to child massage) for children of 4-12 years. This successful programme, developed by Mia Elmsater and Sylvie Hetu, was first introduced in England in 2000 and uses massage and positive touch to encourage learning and develop children’s social and emotional skills. It is recognised as an effective anti-bullying strategy.
The vision of the MISP is that every child attending school experience positive and nurturing touch every day, everywhere in the world.
There are three main aspects to the MISP:
• An ethos of respect and choice as every child is asked for permission before being touched and has the right to say ‘no’.
• A fun 15 minute clothed daily massage routine on the head, back, arms and hands, led by an adult.
• A range of activities, which use visualisation and kinaesthetic learning and encourage positive touch throughout the curriculum.
The MISP is inclusive; every child can join in and the MISP can be adapted for children who have special needs. Some activities can also be adapted for children who are slightly younger or older. It is used in schools, nurseries, nurture groups, after school clubs, extended schools, Montessori Schools, at the transition to secondary school and in other situations.
The MISP links with the school curriculum as it contributes to children's Emotional Health and Wellbeing (Healthy Schools), Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) and the objectives of Every Child Matters.
“The children and staff enjoy the massage and benefit from the calm start. Children work with many others on a one to one basis."
Year 1 teacher
“We have had positive feedback from some parents who enjoy sharing massage with their children. One boy completes massage on his mum every morning before school. Wow! This is the effect this programme has on him!!”
“Staff have been very supportive and they can see the benefits starting to show. These include calmer behaviour, better social behaviour, and the children seem to be settled for longer periods in the afternoon.”
If you are working with younger children, please ask about 'Kind Hands' a programme for children up to 4 years and their parents. You may be working with children in Sure Start, a volunteer with Home Start or in a kindergarten. The 'Kind Hands' programme of positive touch activities in play, nursery rhymes and traditional tales could enhance your work.
Find out more about the benefits of the Massage in Schools Programme and MISP Instructor’s training.