Respectful Touch and the Well-Being Curriculum

The Story Massage Programme is part of the well-being curriculum at Bowker Vale Primary School in Manchester. Jo Heald, Well-Being Co-ordinator, is a winner of our Best Practice Award for her inspiring work introducing Story Massage sessions in classes, at a school club and with parents.

Encouraging Friendship and Respect

At Bowker Vale Primary School, the Story Massage Programme is used for pupils from nursery to Year 6. The children all have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the programme as part of the Healthy Schools project and Well-Being Curriculum. It has been used to encourage friendships and promote respect for each other within the school.

Story Massage in the Classroom

The teachers at Bowker Vale School run regular sessions in the classroom as part of the well-being curriculum so children have an hour of Story Massage every week. The children are encouraged to write their own stories using the ten basic strokes. The Story Massage Programme is also used widely in literacy lessons and teachers have noticed an improvement in creative writing and vocabulary since the sessions began. “The children say that the programme brings the stories alive,” says Jo, “They say it’s relaxing and it helps to retain information such as dates, numbers and names in history subjects.”

Story Massage Club

Children who have enjoyed massage stories in the classroom can join a Story Massage club which is run by Jo for pupils from Key Stage 1 and 2. The club lasts for an hour a week. Children write their own massage stories on themes such as the seasons or events.

“There is much fun and debate around choosing which Story Massage stroke should accompany the words,” says Jo, who is pictured below with some members of the Story Massage club received her Best Practice Award. “The children learn to listen to each other and take turns in making decisions. They are learning important lessons in forming respectful relationships whilst having a lot of fun.”

Pupils Create their own Massage Stories

Bowker Vale Story Massage Club have kindly agreed to share their Spring massage story:

Springtime at Bowker Vale

The flowers are blooming, spring has arrived (The Fan)

We are all excited for the chocolate egg hunt (The Bounce)

The clues for the eggs were hidden in the tulips and daffodils (The Circle)

The children race to the clues.(The Wave)

The children are overjoyed to see that there are footprints in their playground. (The Drum)

The footprints were curiously big. (The Bounce)

The Easter bunny hopped merrily across the playground. (The Bounce)

The sun shines and there is a gentle breeze making the blossom drift down from the tree like confetti. (The Sprinkle)

The bees buzz making their way through the Vale Trail. (The Wave)

The eggs are scattered around tricky obstacles under the bright blue sky. (The Wave)

Finally the children unwrap the scrumptious heavenly chocolate. (The Fan)

Yum Yum! (The Calm)

Story Massage Workshops for Parents and Children

The school has recently started Story Massage sessions for parents and children on Friday afternoons a as part of the school Well-Being Curriculum. “We’ve had some wonderful feedback,” says Jo, “Parents have commented how it helps with bedtime routines and brings peace to the family home. I have worked with children for many years and I can truly say that the Story Massage Programme is a fantastic resource to use with children with the most challenging of behaviours.”

More about the Story Massage Programme

The Story Massage Programme combines the benefits of positive touch with the creativity of storytelling. Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of the programme. These strokes have a descriptive name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol making it fully accessible for all ages and abilities.

Would you like to train in the Story Massage Programme?

If you would like to use the programme at home or work then you will love our flexible online course. All the information is here: Online Training Course.

You will learn how to share the ten Story Massage strokes, adapt familiar stories and even create some sensory stories of your own. Ideal for well-being coaches, therapists, teachers, SEN staff, support staff, Early Years practitioners, those working with people with additional needs, everyone with an interest in sharing positive touch activities with adults or children


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