Priorsford Nursery

Massage in Schools Programme
Priorsford Nursery
Pilot Study November 2014 – March 2015

Child A            Age: 4 (turned 5 during study)    Sex: Male

Baseline observation: Finds together times/activities challenging
Goals with massage for this child: to join in an activity with others for a small amount of time
How often did the child receive massage: 1-3 times a week
Session 1: Engaged in session but needed adult support with movement.
Session 2: Absent
Session 3: Engaged at times, tuned out now and again but responses indicated that he was listening and focusing well.
Session 4: Distracting, rolling about floor, laughing and being noisy.
Session 5: Engaged for a few minutes then wandered off. (Should note that a journalist came at the last minute and it was very distracting for everyone and also meant we had less time)
Session 6: Engaged for whole session, particularly enjoyed the ‘Wheels on the Bus’ activity.
Session 7: Engaged for the session but with lots of giggling.
Session 8: More settled today, had good interaction with partner.
Longer Term Observations: Now able to join with others for a significant part of massage sessions if paired with a sensitive partner, quieter during sessions, joining in different activities other than massage with peers, more responsive to teacher led activities

Child B            Age: 4 (turned 5 during study)    Sex: Male

Baseline Observation: Difficulty engaging/settling to tasks, very anxious, and sensitive to touch
Goals with massage for this child:  to enable child to relax and enjoy a calming sensory experience
How often did the child receive massage? 1-3 times a week
Session 1: Initial focus, after 10 minutes not interested, adult prompts needed.
Session 2: Longer focus than last week, followed some instructions independently.
Session 3: Focused for longer again, following instructions independently.
Session 4: Focused for whole session, doing lots independently.
Session 5: Focused for whole session, good at watching and copying actions.
Session 6: Focused for whole session, focusing more on watching the massage actions and copying them.
Session 7: Wouldn’t engage today.
Session 8: First time paired with a peer, rather than a teacher. He was upset at the start but really enjoyed giving the massage, focusing well and keeping calm. When it came to swapping places he got upset if his partner didn’t copy instructor’s actions exactly, but after the session was smiling and said he really enjoyed it.
Longer term observations: Enjoying massage and staying for whole sessions, less unsettled and vocal, less distressed when things don’t go according to his expectations, calmer in more general nursery setting, beginning to communicate feelings in ways other than screaming.

Child C            Age:  4 (turned 5 during study)   Sex: Female

Baseline Observation: In some situations can be very silly and disruptive
Goals with massage for this child: to focus on a teacher led activity without distracting others
How often did the child receive massage? 1-3 times a week
Session 1: Very silly, noisy and distracting others
Session 2: Still acting silly, talking, touching others, looking to distract
Session 3: Absent
Session 4: Engaged well for most of session
Session 5: Absent
Session 6: Very silly for first half, but focused well for second part when moved away from one of the other boys
Session 7:  Again silly for the first half but calmed and focused well for the second half when moved away from same boy
Session8: Good focus today, a little wriggling but much more engaged.
Longer term observations: Still haphazard in focus depending on other children who are nearby but able to focus when directed by teacher and placed beside other children she will not distract, in general nursery environment is slightly less silly and is beginning to respond and be calm when directed by staff.

Observations for class as a whole:

  • Increased concentration and independence during sessions
  • As sessions progressed all became more confident in touching their partners and doing massage movements
  • All quickly picked up routines of asking permission and saying thank you
  • Pupils have been taking what they have learned home and showing siblings and parents the massage movements
  • Longer term: All children now very quick to get organised for massage sesssions and are getting more consistent and confident in using massage strokes with partners. Together times are calmer and concentration appears to have increased at together periods. After massage sessions children appear more focussed and decisive in what they want to move onto.