Apr 2015

Welcome to the spring edition of the MISA newsletter. MISA has received some wonderful feedback from instructors and staff who are using the programme on a regular basis and also ideas to enhance the normal provision to children. Parents are becoming increasingly involved and families benefit.
Schools are adapting to the new national curriculum and it is very noticeable that the MISP, when used on a regular basis, is contributing to the improved concentration of children and their ability to work cooperatively, so supporting their learning.
The focus of the conference after our AGM on Saturday 25 April will be ‘Back to Basics’. I hope you will be able to join us as we consider imaginative ways in which to integrate the MISP into the curriculum and the wider school community, focusing on the way in which the MISP aids children’s readiness for learning.
Anne Crease, guest editor and MISA Chair

This newsletter contains information about:

  • MISA Conference and AGM 25 April 2015
  • MISA Member’s Day November 2014
  • Stoke-on-Trent Mental Health Conference
  • Managing Massage and the Media Article
  • MISP Christmas Challenge in Worcester


YOU MUST be a full/current member of MISA (EWNI) CIC to be able to practice the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP).
MISA Conference & AGM 2015 – Saturday 25th April

We are pleased to confirm that MISA’s 12th AGM and Conference entitled ‘Back to Basics’ will be on Saturday 25th April 2015 from 9:30am to 5pm at the Croydon Head office. The day will include a Members Forum and cover MISP and Readiness for Learning and a workshop on MISP Best Practice and kinaesthetic Learning, not forgetting the all important MISP Stroke review.
We hope you are able to attend. Please download the booking form from the member’s website or email admin@misa.org.uk for further details.
Save the Date – MISA Member’s Day 2015 Saturday 3rd October the location is yet to be confirmed……Hopefully we are looking at a venue further north!

MISA (Member’s) Day

On Saturday 22nd November 2014 MISA EWNI held their first Members Day in Croydon
since Bristol (MISP & Special Needs) in November 2009.
We were a select group of 12 who enjoyed ‘Change’ and ‘Goal’ workshops with Marjorie Grant to help us focus on MISP and new beginnings. Discussions focused mainly around the programme and its evolution, MISA International development, new Curriculum links and parents/twilight workshops and of course a MISP Stroke Review.
We were also lucky enough to have all six MISA Directors together! Albeit only for the morning session but a fun filled day – thanks everyone.


A good day spent with very nice people & I will return to school with renewed vigour!”
Helen Niven

Wonderful welcoming atmosphere, more practical activities to use in classroom (touch activities) and fitting with curriculum topics” Clare Hollingsworth

Stoke-on-Trent Mental Health Conference

In October I was very kindly invited by the Behaviour Support Team to deliver a massage workshop alongside massage lead, Ceris Walker, at the Mental Health Conference. It was a pleasure to assist Ceris in her delivery and it was great to share the benefits of the Massage in Schools Programme in relation to learning and achievement.
When approached by the MISP team I did think ‘Well, I’ll give it a go but I’m not sure how it will benefit my children’s development’. I was so wrong to have this thought as it has benefited my class immensely, in many different areas. It is unbelievable how the programme can develop the children both socially, as expected, but also helps to develop their attainment and progress.
There have been many in ways in which my children have developed due to this incredible programme. The children have a very calm approach towards each other and the number of physical incidents has reduced considerably as the children use appropriate and kind touch naturally. It has developed the children’s confidence when working with people that they previously may not have chosen to. The children understand the importance of building relationship with people in our group that they
perhaps might not otherwise have chosen to. They children are now extremely confident in their delivery of massage and on many occasions the children have led the positive touch sessions.
There has been a massive change in some of the pupils’ attitudes towards their learning. They now take a calmer approach to learning challenges that they may have found tricky to approach prior to the programme. They seem to be more determined to
achieve and let their confident, calm attitude guide them through their learning. I feel strongly that the MISP programme also helps to improve attendance percentages, as the children love delivering massage. They are constantly asking when
it is time for massage although we deliver the same session, everyday, at the same time. The children have commented when they have not been in school about how they have missed the sessions.
When thinking about classroom management, this is a tool for all schools to consider. The strategy can be used to calm children after a busy lunchtime or can be used if the children don’t appear to be on task. On occasions, I have stopped the taught session and have delivered a quick massage session and have found that the learning after the massage session has improved in relation to the learning prior to the massage break.
In my opinion the MISP programme is a ‘must have’ strategy for all schools. I have stated the benefits for children’s development, but I feel that it has a positive impact on members of staff and their teaching delivery. Both my Teaching Assistant and I feel more relaxed and confident when delivering taught sessions after massage, as we are
feeling calmer, therefore, as we all know well, our body language has a massive impact on our children’s learning and attitudes.
May I take this opportunity to thanks the Behaviour Support Team for the invitation. It was a pleasure to share the practical benefits of the MISP programme. May I also state that we welcome anyone into our school, who would like to see a Positive Touch session taking place; I feel that you will be able to see the immediate benefits of the programme.
Kim Webb – Kingsland Primary School, Stoke on Trent

Managing Massage and Media

It still surprises me when I find out that there are people that have not heard of Massage in Schools Programme. After using it in the school since 2007, I seem to take it for granted that everyone knows about it. I also seem to assume that everyone
would agree that it is a good thing. But, as I have recently found out, there are still some new comers to massage that will ask “Is it…dangerous?”, or “Aren’t you putting some children at risk”? At risk of what, my internal defense system snaps back!? At
risk of relaxing a little, forming some positive emotional connections with peers and nurturing a calm learning environment?!
I found myself having to defend the programme a little this term when our school was contacted by 3 newspapers for interviews regarding the MISP. But how did I get to this place? Let me share with you what it is I do exactly.

I work in a busy Prep school, as the Head of Drama. The children’s timetable is jam packed from 8am – 5.30pm. When I first arrived (18 months ago) and told the Headmaster about MISP he was willing to give it a go. (As we all know, it’s all about
getting the Head on board). The result a year and bit later, is that I run a mixture of different MISP sessions in the school, trying to get in as much as I can as there isn’t the space in the day for it to be run as part of the daily routine. The year 3 and 4‘s each have a massage session with me once every 2 weeks in their PSHE lessons, I run a voluntary after school club for our pre-prep i.e. year 1 and 2, and again for our prep school, year 5/6. The year 7 and 8 girls have sessions with me a few times a term in form times, as an anti stress strategy. I basically do all sorts, but not in the usual way.
And I like that, it works at our school, and it works for me. I have had to be adaptable over the years, and thanks to my confidence with the programme, I feel I am able to do that. (I also teach Story Massage and Mindfulness in schools)
I approached the Headmaster last term saying “MISP is great. The kids love it. You love it. Why aren’t we telling the world what we do? Don’t you think it would be such great publicity for the school”? Before long, newspapers were contacted and a few were interested.
I was so used to everyone being so positive about the programme, that I was little defensive and thrown when the lady from the Daily Mail asked me some challenging questions in our telephone interview. After taking a few mindful breaths and assuring her that our parents had been very supportive and that I didn’t feel we were opening our children up to touching each other inappropriately, I realised I felt a little attacked and un-prepared for negative questions. Why would people want to think such things?
Why do people still see peer massage/touch as a dangerous thing?
After the Daily Mail phoned us and took photos, we had couple of local newspapers come and visit us as well. They didn’t want to watch the massage, only to interview me and photograph the kids. Despite what I have said, on the whole, it was a positive experience. The articles were affirming and the challenging questions not printed. But it made me aware; we do have to be careful when interviewed of what we say and how we say it. The Press can miss-quote and are basically after a story; they want to make news.
The advantages of being in the paper were that the children loved seeing their photos in the paper. The parents loved it too, and the message is being spread around our area that MISP is a safe and good thing to do. I also realised I need not fear the
negative questions. As I asked earlier, “why would people want to think such things”?
The answer is it is human nature. You cannot have the good without the bad. As human beings we question things that are new to us, and we have to learn to be discerning and protective of our children.
So to all you out there wanting to get some press coverage, don’t worry about the difficult questions. There is enough evidence out there to give a strong enough argument. Allow people to question, it is all part of the bigger picture. Just be ready with some strong sound answers (get your information in front of you when doing a telephone interview!). We are trying to educate people that it is ok to touch, it is ok to be caring and kind and to we have nothing to be ashamed of. Welcome the difficulties and embrace them and let’s keep telling the world how important it is that we do what we do.

Mary Spink, MISP Instructor since September 2008, Head of Drama at Ardingly Prep
Please follow this link to see the on-line article

Loretto Cattell, MISP Instructor of the Season – Spring

I have practiced as a Complementary Therapist at the school since 2007 but never considered the Massage in Schools (MISP) training. That all changed one day in April 2013 when a pupil called Angel approached her friend whose hands I was treating with another therapy and asked if she could copy what I was doing. Her friend agreed and in the ensuing minutes my whole perspective changed. I booked onto a MISP training the following month.
In May 2013 I trained as a MISP Instructor with Kate Pigeon–Owen and was convinced that our pupils could learn the MISP strokes and would enjoy peer massage.
Discussion with the very sympathetic Deputy Head Teacher resulted in the Senior Leadership Team agreeing that aspects of the MISP could be introduced in the Autumn 2013 term. I identified three groups with whom I wanted to work:
The Foundation class: I introduced the Weather Massage Story, at their existing weekly complementary therapy session. This then progressed to the Mini-MISP.
Class Five: I taught all the MISP Strokes as a Pilot Project over a five week period and then adapted the strokes to the science curriculum topic (done on a voluntary basis as I needed to know if I was capable of teaching the MISP to this group of pupils).
The Parents for Parents Association: in order to inform them about the MISP. As a result of my presentation, the Association booked a Parents Course for March 2014, which evaluated very well.
Feedback from staff was positive and as a result of the Deputy Head observing Class Five performing the MISP, I was invited to teach the programme to ALL Primary School classes during the 2014 Spring and Autumn half terms. The pupils all enjoyed the sessions and the MISP is now time-tabled as a weekly session for each class.
A review visit to the classes in January 2015 showed the MISP to be alive and well under the leadership of designated members of staff in each class.
The Evaluations of Outcomes show that children in all five classes were more attentive and able to concentrate for longer periods of time and each class showed improvements in several of the MISP Outcome Criteria.
Loretto Cattell MSc, MISP Instructor, Birmingham, trained May 2013.

MISP Christmas Challenge at Westlands First School

I have really just taken on the MISP properly in September 2014 as Elaine Humphreys retired in July, after 9 years of working with MISP. I have had lots of fun going into each class to instruct the staff and pupils on the 15 stroke programme. This has been great as I have had lots of really positive feedback from the children, some of whom have been using the programme for a number of years now. I have incorporated some of their comments into a new display in our central area of school, focusing on which is their favourite stroke and why they like it.

I have just gone into the early years classes this week to start introducing the programme to our reception children, and this will be done over a longer period of time, as will the year one classes.
We are hoping to invite parents in towards Christmas, so that they can receive a Christmas present of a massage from their children, and our experience of this sort of event is usually very positive and very well attended.
What is very clear is the children at Westland’s First School, clearly enjoy giving and receiving peer massage, and staff report the positive impact this has on the children in the class.
I have set each class a “Christmas challenge” to try and give as many different peers a massage in class time by the end of this term, encouraging them to change partners as often as possible. Also to try and resolve any playground disagreements by giving a massage to someone they may have had a disagreement with that day, so the massage is the first step in building bridges with that person and putting things right.
Different classes continue to use massage to support their curriculum learning, and we hope to share some of these massages with other classes and parents in the near future.
Philippa Cavilla, MISP Instructor since November 2013, Westlands First School,


I wanted to share with you how much I have enjoyed introducing massage into the schools I have worked in with staff, pupils and parents. I was trained by Anne Crease and thoroughly enjoyed the course. I am now training as a psychotherapist and am self employed working as a school counsellor.
Because of this change I no longer have the opportunity to practice massage so will not be renewing my membership. However, I feel very sad about this and hope, in the future, to reconnect with MISA and use the wonderful MISP programme.
Catriona Baillie, MISP Instructor since February 2008.

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