What is MISA?
MISA stands for the Massage in Schools Association. This association was set up to support instructors trained in the Massage in Schools Programme. Branches exist in various countries around the world, including Scotland. There is also an international umbrella branch to support the international network of instructors and trainers.
What is MISP?
MISP stands for the Massage in Schools Programme, which is a peer massage programme for children aged between 4-12 years old. A qualified MISP instructor implements the programme over a 5-8 week period in primary schools and other settings, teaching the children a formal 15 stroke, imagery-based massage routine, as well fun and creative massage activities and games.
Does the programme involve adults touching the child?
No. This is a peer massage programme which means that children are only paired with other children. Instructors make this very clear from the start and teachers are informed of this regulation. The only exception is if a child has special needs and requires an adult to assist. In this case, permission is always obtained from the parents/carers.
Why massage in schools?
Touch is fundamental to human health and communication. It is a developmental need that literally grows childrens brains and nervous systems and continues to play a very important role in our lives. Through touch all the other systems of the body are affected in a positive way, enhancing our physical and mental/ emotional health and wellbeing.
Can it be implemented outside of schools?
Although it is called Massage in Schools, the programme can be implemented, and fits very well, into many other settings. Examples include after-school clubs, holiday camps, Girl Guides and Scouts, family support groups, daycare centres, children’s homes, family fun days and much more. Instructors can also create their own classes, such as story massage in libraries/leisure centres and parent and child massage sessions.
Can younger/older children take part?
The programme has been adapted for 2-3 year olds and is called ‘Mini MISP’. This has been carefully tailored to the abilities of this age group. There is not an adapted programme for older children as of yet.
How does this programme fit into the school curriculum?
MISP fits very well into the Curriculum for Excellence, sharing many of its values and principles, particularly with the Health and Wellbeing framework. The holistic approach of the curriculum requires practices which encourage positive behaviour, making the children feel safe, respected, and included. MISP is a caring approach, and underpinning the programme is respect. Please check this link for the detailed ways in which MISP directly matches the requirements and outcomes for CfE.
MISP can also be used as a learning tool, complementing other learning activities. Your MISP instructor will have been trained on how to incorporate massage activities into school subjects, helping pupils with memory, creativity, and teamwork.
What changes will I notice in the school?
When practiced regularly, teachers and pupils have noticed many positive changes to the school environment. These include a calmer and more focused classroom, improvement in social interaction between pupils, levels of empathy and respect, and the ability to stay focused on task and carry out work efficiently. To read about the benefits in more detail click here, or to read about MISP experiences in schools click here.
Is there evidence behind the success of the programme?
Numerous research studies have been carried out exemplifying the benefits of MISP. Click here to see the studies.
How can I get the programme into my school?
There are two options here. The first is to contact the Association to find an instructor near you. He/she will then implement the programme for a 5-8 week period, depending on your school’s schedule. This will include a follow-up session.
The second option is to send one or more of your teachers on an instructor training course, or to organize an in-house training for the whole school. Taster sessions can also be arranged.
Trained teachers will be able to teach the programme to the pupils, but will not be able to teach other teachers.
What does the programme cost?
The price differs depending on the school’s budget and whether the instructor has other funding available. Please get in touch with the Association to find an instructor and discuss prices.
Who can become an MISP instructor?
The course is open to anyone willing to work, or already working with children. As the programme is not intended as a therapy, no massage qualifications are necessary. The programme can be used as a great tool for people who work with children already, be it as a teacher in a primary school, or with a children’s charity. Otherwise, you can market the programme to schools and various other settings, implementing as an independent instructor. The course includes advice on how to go about this.
What does the 2 day course cover?
The Massage in Schools Instructor Training Course is run over a 2 day period and is a very comprehensive balance of practical tuition and theory and includes:
- The background of the programme and why it works
- The benefits of the MISP for children, teachers, schools, families and society
- How the MISP links to child development
- Current research and how it supports the MISP
- How the MISP activates the brain and nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety in children, making them available for learning
- The MISP massage routine
- Adaptations for special needs, ADHD, autism
- Incorporating touch and movement into the learning of all school subjects
- How to implement the programme in schools as well as community centres for children and their parents
- Child protection, professionalism and ethics
How much does the training course cost?
The course costs £295 (in-house trainings cost £195). This includes lifetime membership, all course material, and drinks and refreshments throughout the day.
What support will be given after the training?
We encourage all instructors to keep in touch about developments in their implementation, updating us with how they are getting on and if any problems have arisen. And we will do our best to help you out along the way.
We will regularly send out updates, seasonal massage games/activities and ideas for instructors to use. Members can use the Members section of the website to access resources which they might need for implementing the programme, for example parent consent templates and guidelines for teachers.