What is the Massage in Schools Programme?
The Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) was introduced in Ireland in May 2004
and is now being used in schools throughout the country.
The fully clothed massage is :
* For children 4-12 years old
* Given by the children, to each other
* On the back, head, arms and hands
* Given and received with the child’s permission
* 10-15 minutes daily
What are the benefits of massage?
Studies and observations have shown that:
* Children become calmer
* Children have improved concentration
* Children have more confidence
* It helps children recognise ‘good’ and ‘bad’ touch
* Children develop better motor skills
* It teaches children to respect themselves and others
* There is a reduction in bullying and aggression
* A teacher can benefit from a clamer classroom & improved concentration
* Massage is fun!
What groups of children does it suit best?
All children benefit from massage.
A ‘whole school approach’ to the introduction of massage can be used. Children who lack concentration and confidence and children who may be rather aggressive show the most change. In some schools the massage is used specifically with children who have special needs.
How is the massage introduced?
Massage is introduced to the children by an Instructor who has taken part in Massage in Schools Programme training. Participants include teachers, school nurses, health workers, massage therapists and others who work with children. If the Instructor is not the class teacher she/he will work with the teacher and children to introduce the formal massage routine.
How does massage link into the curriculum?
It can form part of the SPHE programme in primary schools, and also can be introduced during PE and Drama. The MISP reinforces the concept of ‘respect’ for self and others. Children give permission and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Touch games can be used to develop number work and literacy. Simple stories and rhymes can be used so that children have fun planting a garden, making pizza and doing a weather forecast on each others’ backs!