The magic of the Positive Touch

As well as teaching Spanish one of my other ‘hats’ is being a ‘Massage in Schools Instructor’.

Having attended the recent MISA two day conference with newly found inspiration and in light of languages becoming compulsory in Primary schools from September it is the perfect timing to come up with some Positive Touch ideas to use in the classroom at the same time as practising a second language. massage in schools Picture 16ReceptionMixedButterfly

MISA promotes child to child massage in schools as a way to bring a whole range of positive outcomes for children. An instructor introduces a massage routine to use in the classroom as often as possible and this can really benefit children’s sense of wellbeing, empathy, levels of concentration and really importantly their sense of respect for others and themselves. They are taught what is appropriate and positive touch and the essential knowledge that they can say ‘no’ to being touched.

However, if you can’t have an instructor come in to train the teachers yet you can start with appropriate positive touch in the classroom with simple games and activities and why not use that time to bring in a second language too!

So here is how to do it, we will use Spanish as an example:

Step 1:
Children must wash their hands, you can bring a bowl of soapy water and paper towels round the class or have it ready as they come in.

‘I wash my hands’ = ‘Me lavo las manos’
‘I dry my hands’ = ‘Me seco las manos’

Step 2:
Half the class sit on their chairs and the other half stand behind a person each ready to give them a massage.

Remind them once you start a massage you must always have contact with one hand at least! Never stop touching the other person until the end of the massage!

Before touching them they MUST ASK FOR PERMISSION

‘Can I give you a massage?’ ’Te puedo dar un masaje?’
Yes = Si
No = No

Step 3:
Be clear that massage is gentle, above the waist and they must always check whether the pressure is right?

‘Do you like it like this?’ = ‘Te gusta así?’

Stronger = Más fuerte
Softer = Más flojo

To be polite they can also learn

Please = Por favor
Thank you = Gracias

Step 4:
Have prepared a few simple strokes to accompany a simple story. Good options are stories they already know in their mother tongue. For example we will pick

‘The hungry caterpillar’ = ‘La oruga glotona’
As you tell the story show the images.

Había una vez una pequeña oruga
There once was a small caterpillar

Que tenía mucha hambre
That was very hungry

(Flat hand walking up the back, fingertips bend and pull the hand up caterpillar like from the waistline to the top 3, slide back down and crawl up again 3 times)

El lunes comió una naranja
On Monday it ate one orange
(Flat hands from baseline do one small circle at either side of the spine)

El martes comió dos ciruelas
On Tuesday it ate two plums
(Flat hands from baseline do two small circles at either side of the spine moving upwards)

El miércoles comió tres manzanas
On Wednesday it ate three apples
(Flat hands from baseline do three small circles at either side of the spine moving upwards)

El jueves comió cuatro tomates
On Thursday it ate four tomatoes
(Flat hands from baseline do four small circles at either side of the spine moving upwards)

El viernes comió cinco plátanos
On Friday it ate five bananas
(Flat hands on back do five straight lines downwards from the shoulders to the waistline)

El sábado comió seis pepinos
On Saturday it ate six cucumbers
(Flat hands on back do six straight lines downwards from the shoulders to the waistline)

Y el domingo comió siete zanahorias
And on Sunday it ate seven carrots.
(Flat hands on back do seven straight lines downwards from the shoulders to the waistline)

La oruga estaba muy muy gorda y le costaba andar
The caterpillar was very fat and it was hard to walk
(palms of hands walk up the sides of the spine with some pressure, one after the other so body rocks a little from side to side)

Entonces se enrolló en hilo de seda para hacerse un capullo y allí se quedó a descansar.
So it spun silk around itself to make a cocoon.
(Do big circles around the whole back)

Y cuando salió de allí era una preciosa mariposa
And when it came out it was a beautiful butterfly
(Both hands flat on the middle of the back, lift the right hand diagonally up to the left shoulder and hug it gently, bring the hand back down diagonally. Bring the left hand up to the right shoulder, hug it and take it back diagonally’.

Y colorín colorado este cuento se ha acabado
(Traditional way to finish spanish stories)
Put both hands on shoulders

Step 5:



It may be worth breaking this down so that on one day they hear the story in Spanish with actions, on another day they learn the strokes on the air, floor or on a cushion in front of them and on the third day they do it on each other and then swap over so everyone gets a massage.

massage in schools Picture 7Yr6BoyBunnyHops

If anyone opts out allow them the space to say ‘no’ and get them to practice the moves on a cushion until they are ready to join in. They will be once the oxytocin (feel good and bonding hormone that is released when giving and receiving massage) starts to fill the room.

They will love the massage and teachers will love the calm class afterwards!

Give it a go!

Other stories that are translated into Spanish and can work well language wise and massage wise are:

Brown bear – ‘Oso pardo, oso pardo ? Que ves ahi?’ Eric Carle

The Gruffalo – ‘El Grufalo’ Julia Donaldson

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