PARENTS

Parents Tied In Knots Over Pupil-To-Pupil Massage Sessions

18/01/2012 12:55 | Updated 22 May 2015
Primary school pupilsRex Features
Parents have tied themselves in knots at a primary school where kids have been giving each other massages!

Children get hands-on with each other with 10 minute sessions before lessons at Sheffield's Hartley Brook Primary School.

The school says they are designed to help over-stimulated pupils calm down after lunch breaks. But according to the Daily Mail, some parents say the massages are "inappropriate" and have withdrawn their children.

Parent Rachael Beer who has two children at the school said: "I just feel it is inappropriate for children touching each other. I do understand that children need calming down after lunch.

"I just think there are better relaxation techniques out there that can help with that, such as yoga, that have the same benefits as peer massage that don't involve them touching each other.

"I think children like their own personal space.

"I have opted my children out of it. They are then sat doing the actions to peer massage. I feel that those 20 minutes could be better spent doing something more academic."

The Massage In Schools programme (Misp) was introduced into the UK in 1999. According to the organisation, the youngsters who follow the techniques have lower stress levels, concentrate better at school and also sleep better at home.

Chris Dobson, Head of the 550-pupil Hartley Brook, defended the programme.

"It makes such a difference to the way the children calm down and get focused on their work," she said.

"Actually, they end up getting far more done in the afternoon than if they are still all a bit jittery from having been out playing football or running around with their friends or whatever.

"I first saw peer massage in one of the local schools in Sheffield and I noticed how calming it was for the children and how well they managed to get on with their work in the afternoons.

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I don't think it is inappropriate for children to touch each other. Children touch each other all the time - they swing each other round, they chase each other, they hug each other, they put arms round each other. For children, it is normal.

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Carole Thrower from the Massage in Schools programme said: "What we are teaching children is good for health and well-being and reducing stress.

"The most important part is that the children have to ask each other's permission.

"The children are learning in a very simple way it is their body and, as for who touches them, it is their right to say yes or no.

"It is a very good and simple way of children protecting themselves.

"The benefits are huge - it improves concentration and calms them down and they become more confident.

"It reduces bullying and improves behaviour, social skills and their friendship groups and social interaction. They become aware of signs of stress and it is very creative."

What do you think? Does you child's school do Massage in Schools?

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