About the founders

Mia Elmsater

Mia is the mother of three boys and has raised two stepsons. She lives in the north of Sweden, very close to the Arctic Circle.

Mia studied sports in college in 1971 and took a training in Montessori education for day care children in 1984. She owned and ran an alternative day care centre for three years inspired by both Montessori and Steiner approaches.
She became a qualified Infant Massage Instructor with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) in 1986, pioneering infant massage in Sweden and qualifying as an IAIM Instructor/Trainer in 1990. Mia is a member of the IAIM Educational Committee and has served on the boards both internationally and in Sweden, as well as running the IAIM International Office. She has also been a qualified Baby Swim Instructor since 1987.

In 1990 Mia, together with a colleague in infant massage presented the program in Romania. This led to the start of the Sunrise Day Care Center, which was the first centre in Romania to mainstream children with special needs. Mia created a sponsoring program for monetary support between Sweden and Romania.

Mia created and co-created several massage and touch programs, including “Tactile Stimulation” for children and adults with special needs, “Touch Therapy” used in nursing homes, “Child Massage” used in day care centres and “Massage in Schools” for children of school ages. Additionally, the massage program for day care centres has
been introduced into Germany.

Mia has done volunteer work in neonatal units in Sweden, supporting parents and helping them to bond with their baby. She has also created a support group for parents who have babies born with Down Syndrome.

She has created two videos, one for infant massage and the other for massage for infants, children and adults with special needs. Mia has also held several lectures and talks promoting nurturing touch during conventions for doctors and health visitors, health professionals involved with special needs and massage therapists.

Mia has combined her experience, together her colleague Sylvie Hetu, to create the “Massage in Schools Programme” and introduced it into the UK in 1999.

Sylvie Hetu

Sylvie is the mother of three children, two boys and one girl. She lives in Montreal, Canada.

Sylvie studied nutrition in college in 1976 and graduated from Montreal University receiving a degree in education. She continued her studies, completing three years of training as a Steiner teacher (Waldorf education) in 1996.
She worked for three years in a day care centre and three years in a primary school as a teacher. She is also a part time Waldorf teacher at the Rudolf Steiner school in Montreal, teaching nutrition and biology.

She became a qualified Infant Massage Instructor in 1983 and a qualified Instructor Trainer in 1989 with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM). She pioneered infant massage in Canada. She is an active member of the Canadian Board as well as the International Board. Sylvie is a member of the IAIM International Educational Committee.

She also created approaches in massage for toddler groups, day care and pre-school children with “L’Association pour la Petite Enfance au Quebec”, an association supporting children under 6 years old.

She has created approaches for school aged children which she has presented to teachers during study days and at educational conventions, colleges and universities in her province.

Sylvie did volunteer work in two hospitals in Montreal with babies and children who were ill. She also did volunteer work for “Alternative Naissance”, a support centre for parents for 10 years.

Sylvie also participated in the creation of a video for alternative approaches in child birth and infant care.

She founded “Au Coeur de l’Enfance” in her province in 1996, which consists of services and resources in education for parents and educators.This was inspired by the Waldorf approach.

Sylvie has combined her experience, together with her colleague Mia Elmsater to create the “Massage in Schools Programme” being taught in the UK.

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