Positive Feedback for In-House Training Day

The Story Massage Programme is recommended as an interactive, engaging and useful in-house training day. Would you like to know more? We take a look at a recent in-house training day at Woodlands Special School in Plymouth to give you an idea of what to expect.

Introducing the Story Massage Programme

The day began with an introduction to the Story Massage Programme and a demonstration of two simple massage stories. This was also a chance to work together to find out how the day could be tailored to meet the individual needs of the group.

At the heart of the programme is positive and respectful touch. Permission is always sought to touch, and thanks are given at the end. So everyone was invited to share a massage story, if they wished.

The Story Massage Programme combines the nurturing benefits of positive touch with the fun and creativity of storytelling. Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of the programme. These ten strokes are used to illustrate the words of the story.  Each stroke has a name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol. It is a fully inclusive activity for all ages and abilities. No clothing is removed and no oil is used.

Learning the Ten Story Massage Strokes

We spent time teaching the ten strokes and learning how they can be used to help bring a story alive. The Circle stroke, for example, could illustrate the world, a pizza or a sense of community. The Fan stroke could illustrate growing, flying or a volcano.

The ten strokes can be given on any part of the body that is accessible and appropriate making it ideal for children or adults with special education needs. So during the in-house training day we encouraged everyone to practice the strokes on hands, legs, arms to experience how it feels to give and receive. And the response was very positive.

Adapting Stories for Positive Touch Activities

Next, we invited everyone to work in small groups to adapt simple nursery rhymes by choosing the strokes that best suited the words. There was a real buzz in the room as they began discussing and demonstrating their adapted massage stories.

Discussing Guidelines and Benefits

We emphasised the importance of respectful touch during a session on guidelines for sharing the Story Massage programme. This was a time to ask questions to ensure everyone felt comfortable with implementing the activity within the different classes at the school. We discussed the many potential benefits for the children and staff. These included increased communication and engagement, preparation for events and activities, building of trust, inclusion and developing expressive language.

Creating a Massage Story

After lunch, we looked at creating individual massage stories to share with the children. Subjects ranged from social stories such as A Visit to the Library and The Weekly Routine, to curriculum topics including The Circus. And then we worked together to create a Woodlands School Massage Story. Here is a video of staff demonstrating their massage story. (You will find the words of the story at the bottom of this page.)

The Story Massage Programme Resources

At the end of the day, everyone received a certificate and we discussed resources to support the programme. These include a book, stickers, wall charts and lanyards. Resources are available for sale on training days and from our website. Our in-house training days are also supported by regular newsletters, social media updates and blogs.

Positive Feedback for In-House Training Day

“We now have the tools and resources to take it straight into class and build our own stories from day one.”

“Since the in-house training day we have been using Story Massage almost daily in class. The children really relax and show their enjoyment. Other classes are just as keen. We will certainly be going for the Story Massage Centre of Excellence Awards next year.”

“We had very positive feedback from the day’s training.  I am very hopeful that it can now become a way of life at Woodlands.”

“It was a fantastic day. It was great to learn together so that we can support each other in developing the programme within the school.”

“I’m looking forward to introducing the Story Massage Programme to the parents as it is such an easy and adaptable way of sharing positive touch with the children.”

Would you like to book an in-house training day?

Cost: £1600 for up to 20 delegates, plus travel and accommodation. This includes the experience and expertise of two trainers plus a comprehensive training manual and certificate for each attendee.


£800 for up to 10 delegates, plus travel and accommodation. This includes the experience and expertise of one trainer plus a comprehensive training manual and certificate for each attendee.

To discuss options and dates: please contact Mary and Sandra.


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