Tuesday, November 2, 1999 Published at 16:36 GMT
Massage lessons for stressed pupils
Massage is also said to benefit young children
A primary school is considering teaching massage techniques to four-year-olds to help relieve stress in the classroom.
The initiative, which could be introduced at St Gilbert's RC Primary School in Glasgow, is already used in some Swedish schools to help reduce pupils' aggression.
It involves pupils pairing up to massage each other's backs, shoulders and heads, mirroring actions described in a story read by their teacher.
St Gilbert's was introduced to the concept by a delegation of Swedish teachers, a nurse and physiotherapist, which visited the school last month.
Head teacher Patricia Reaka said the school was interested in the scheme and its reported benefits.
The Swedish delegation visited the school after hearing reports of a pilot project staff carried out last year to help boost children's learning.
This involved making drinking water available to pupils throughout the day, so they did not become dehydrated and could concentrate better.
Parental support needed
Mrs Reaka said: "The Swedish group wanted to visit us and exchange views. When we first heard of it we thought it was teachers massaging children, which is something we couldn't do, but it's children massaging children, and they are fully clothed.
"In Sweden they have found it gets rid of tension and stress, and that children are not as aggressive in playground situations as they might usually be.
"We are interested in it, because anything that improves children's behaviour has to be positive. So many children come from stressful situations, and there is also quite a lot of stress put on children in schools these days."
If the school decided to introduce massage, it would be done at the lowest level with the youngest pupils, as older pupils might be embarrassed by it if they were not already used to it.
"We would have to have parents on board, and it would also depend on time and resources," Mrs Reaka said.