Whole School Training

This training offers an in-depth study and practice of healthy touch and peer massage for the whole school, including administrative staff and parents.

In this training you will learn:

  • the definition of healthy touch
  • the science behind the benefits of healthy touch
  • 4 or more peer massage routines
  • how to create your own peer massage routines
  • the peer massage routine protocol
  • how to present this to your parents and students
  • how to answer difficult questions
  • how to handle the student's gender discomfort
  • how to integrate healthy touch into your curriculum

You will walk away with:

  • a new skill for classroom management
  • gift to share for a lifetime
  • a training manual in hand and on line
  • visual aids for 3 massage routines
  • a video
  • a CD
  • unlimited telephone support via school liaison

Peer massage is a gentle touch activity that is done student-to-student and is facilitated and supervised by the teacher accompanied by a story or song. It is done with clothes on, and only on head, neck, shoulders, back, arms, and hands. Most importantly, peer massage is always done with consent. By always asking permission the students learn respectful, appropriate boundaries as well as self-confidence and self-regulation. Because nurturing touch stimulates the secretion of oxytocin, peer massage promotes social inclusion and reduces aggression and bullying. Other benefits of oxytocin are calm, concentration, increased creativity and reasoning, better digestion, and a stronger immune system.

Peer massage augments a school's anti-bullying and other health and wellness programs. Yet, despite its universal effectiveness at reducing stress and promoting social inclusion, peer massage has struggled to gain widespread acceptance and recognition. Although most people acknowledge that touch is a fundamental human need, many people are afraid to touch. Experience has proven that in order for a peer massage program to be successful in the long run - some schools in England have been doing it for over ten years - the approach must be whole school.

The purpose of this weekend intensive is to educate the whole school community as to the definition and benefits of healthy touch. If everyone is "on board" with the concepts behind the practice of healthy touch there is less likelihood of a misunderstanding or upset from a few parents when peer massage is brought to the classroom. Although this reaction can come from a scant number of parents, without an educated response and support from administrators and other parents, the activity is likely to be discontinued.

Another benefit of educating parents as well as school staff, is that there is a very good chance that healthy touch will be practiced in the home, resulting in children coming to school in a calmer and more focused state of mind. In fact, most children are eager to share this new skill with their parents and siblings! A community-wide understanding of the science behind the benefits of healthy touch, and a common language to define the activity, will empower everyone to utilize our most basic form of communication and comfort.

This is a one and a half to two-day training that covers the following topics:

Day One: Evening lecture, 2 hours, whole school community (all the adults)
Day Two: 9 - 5, Peer massage training, for teachers and parent
7 - 9 pm, evening lecture - optional
Day Three: 9 - 12, Peer massage training, for teachers and parents
2 - 4 Playful touch for parent and child, and early childhood teachers

*bring a pad and a blanket and a child. Clothes-on, fun & easy massage routines. Each participating family receives a free copy of the DVD, Playful Touch.

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In this training, there is quite a bit of time devoted to personal and cultural views about touch and inquiry about the word "no". These are the two factors which make up what I call the "touch barrier" and prevent teachers from implementing an activity they otherwise deem valuable. We cannot overestimate the influence that our upbringing has on the choices we make as adults. Once the "touch barrier" is overcome and the science is understood the rest is actually quite easy. Any story or verse can be converted into a peer massage routine. With a little bit of experimentation new strokes can be "created". The value of this training is not so much in the "what" as the "how" and, especially, the "why". When one understands why healthy touch brings calm, focus, and friendliness then it is easy to know when and how to bring the activity of peer massage.

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The fee for this training is $3,600, for the first 12 teachers with a charge of $100 for every additional teacher up to 30, plus travel and per diem. For the evening lectures on Friday and Saturday you may fill the room at no additional cost.

A two-day follow-up visit for classroom observation and teacher mentoring within 6 months is advised. The cost for this will be $400 per day, plus travel and per diem.

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