As an independent MISP Instructor, I had the wonderful opportunity to carry out a pilot study in Priorsford Nursery over an eight session block. Each week I held two sessions – one for 3 & 4 year olds and the other for 4 & 5 year olds. I used a variety of nursery rhymes, massage stories, and massage games, keeping the movements simple and allowing the children to make up their own strokes. Highlights included massage stories about the weather and making pizza, Wheels on the Bus, and a ‘Road trip across Scotland’ as they were currently studying Scotland. They absolutely loved when they could give input and suggestions in the stories, for example adding their own pizza toppings, making up strokes for their favourite animals, or drawing on their partner’s back how the weather was on their way to school that morning. They also highly enjoyed making sound effects while doing the massage! It was wonderful to see their imaginations and creativity running wild during the sessions and their ever-increasing enthusiasm to join in.
The teachers observed many benefits to the class such as improved focus and concentration in activities and, throughout the sessions, general improvement in listening and working together. They were so good at asking permission, checking pressure, and saying thank you to each other, and it was very sweet to see such young children being so kind and compassionate to each other.
The three children being observed had great improvements in their focus during the sessions, and longer term observations include improvements in communication and increasing willingness to join in activities with other pupils. All three benefited from the sessions in different ways. One boy who was very sensitive to touch came to love giving massages to his peers and is gradually coming round to receiving them too. Hopefully this will continue to improve with further practice but it was very touching to hear him express his enjoyment of the sessions! The teachers are keen to continue practicing and I will hopefully return in June for their Health Week to hold parent-child sessions. A chance for the parents to see what it is all about!