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Story Massage Programme promotes positive mental health
Many schools across the UK are using the Story Massage Programme as an integral part of promoting positive mental health. Key benefits include helping pupils to express challenging feelings, to self-regulate their emotions and to build positive relationships.
The Story Massage Programme combines the benefits of positive, respectful touch with the creativity of storytelling. The programme is based on ten simple strokes (given through clothes) which illustrate the words of a story/song/poem. Each stroke has a name and easy-to-recognise symbol making it simple to share.
It is usually a peer massage activity with pupils asking permission to touch and saying ‘thank you’ afterwards. This provides the opportunity for discussion around issues of consent and appropriate touch. The Story Massage Programme is inclusive of all ages and abilities so pupils with additional support needs can benefit too.
Feedback from teachers
At Thorntree Primary School in Glasgow, the Story Massage Programme is an integral part of wellbeing lessons. “It helps pupils to express their feelings such as anger or grief and put difficult emotions into words.” says Shona Heggie, Headteacher, “We use it to help pupils manage problems such as family bereavement or divorce, and for transition to different classes or schools.”
At Bowker Vale Primary School in Manchester, pupils now write their own massage stories on themes ranging from Winter to Friendships. “They learn to listen to each other,” says Jo Heald, Well-Being Co-Ordinator, “They are learning important lessons in forming respectful relationships as well as improving their vocabulary and creative writing skills.”
At Kingsmead Primary School in North London, the effects of introducing The Story Massage Programme have been “astonishing” on pupil well-being says Olivia Silver, Year 5 Class Teacher, “They are more focussed in class, and start the day relaxed, positive and ready to learn. They have become more caring of each other and respectful of personal space.”
Training in the Story Massage Programme
We offer one day courses around the country plus online and in-house training options. We teach you how to share the ten Story Massage strokes and work with you to adapt stories or create your own. The programme is supported by a book, DVD, wallcharts and stickers. Once trained, there are no further costs involved in implementing the programme within your school.
You can find out more about the Story Massage Programme on the website: www.storymassage.co.uk