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Jo Malone London brings sensory therapy to The Family School

This month saw the first in a series of Jo Malone London workshops taking place at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families' sponsored ‘The Family School’.

The Family School is a unique alternative provision school in central London for pupils aged 5 to 14 (key stages 1-3) for whom learning has nearly come to a stop due to emotional and behavioural issues, which may have led to exclusion from mainstream school. The ultimate aim of the school is to reintegrate pupils back in to mainstream school and currently works with around 30 pupils at any one time. What’s unusual about The Family School is that it also asks caregivers to attend - meaning they would also be part of the workshop.

On the day, Sarah and Emma, from Jo Malone London’s Education Team joined the Parent Learning Group, which takes place every Wednesday, and provides caregivers attending the support to help them create the conditions and changes necessary for their children to become better learners and achieve their goals in life.

The Family School's theme for Parent Learning on that day was understanding sensory processing. After watching some insightful videos about our five main senses and children with sensory processing issues, the group began to share stories of their own experience of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

This discussion led on nicely to Sarah and Emma sharing with the group Jo Malone London’s charity programme and how they are supporting the work of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, in particular around raising awareness of mental health, through the sale of Jo Malone London's Charity Candles.

The earlier videos on human beings’ senses were the perfect match with Sarah and Emma’s first activity of “Guess the Scent”, involving caregivers and pupils matching five of Jo Malone London’s most popular fragrances, with everyday smells such as red apples, roses, lavender and blueberries.

With the children clearly showing their sense of smell could easily out-scent that of the adults in the room, the activity brought with it a greater depth of understanding about not only what goes in to making a fragrance, but also the power of smell and the sense of nostalgia it can impart.

Next up, Emma and Sarah offered some very welcomed hand and arm massages, which parents jumped at the opportunity to take up. This also gave some in the group the opportunity to give massages to their own child or caregiver – some better received than others!

The day ended with a tour of the school and an opportunity for Sarah and Emma to meet more of the caregivers and pupils currently attending the school and of course offer some more wonderful massages!

Everyone at The Family School is incredibly thankful to Sarah and Emma and the rest of the Jo Malone London Team for preparing such an engaging and interesting workshop. Parents agreed they would never have the opportunity for such an experience in their daily lives and that it was an experience they would never forget. Two of the students have also started to be more interested in their own self–care, which has been another welcome outcome. We are all very excited for the next one taking place next month.