For years I have been organizing a “spa day” for my Women’s PE 11/12. I believe that it is very important to incorporate community into the classroom, teach the girls about self care, and introduce them to preventative and “alternative” health and wellness options.
I approach businesses months in advance, as many of them have to” shut down shop” for the afternoon. Most of the individuals that I have asked to participate are excited to be a part of the event, and the vast majority actually ask to be included the following year. We have had naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, herbalists, iridologists, reflexologists, massage school students, meditation and yoga instructors, tuning fork therapists, reiki practitioners, etc. participate. Each practitioner offers 20 minute sessions, with the yoga and meditation sessions usually running 40 minutes. Our classes are 80 minutes long, so students may have up to 4 sessions.
I usually try to plan the spa day during midterms, when students are especially stressed out and grateful to have this luxurious opportunity. My classes are also back-to-back, so most businesses are there all afternoon.
If you would like to plan a spa day, here are the steps you need to take:
- Pick a date a few months down the road when you have access to at least one large space. If I have a meditation or yoga instructor attending, I will make sure that I have extra spaces for them. I also make sure that it does not fall on a day where many students will be absent (ex. Basketball tournament, band trip, etc.).
- Research health and wellness practitioners in your area and approach them to be a part of your event. Explain the benefit to the students to learn about alternative health and wellness opportunities as well as self care. Also explain that it will benefit their business as students will tell their friends and family. It often creates quite a buzz, and I usually have students from other classes hanging around that day trying to get in on the relaxation. I also post on our class facebook and Instagram pages, and do a write-up for the local paper.
- Create a list of available activities and have students rank what they are most interested in (1) to least interested in (ex. 10).
- Send home a permission form to participate in activities. Some businesses may also require their own consent form. I tell students that whoever gets their permission forms in first will have first choice at activities – needless to say, the permission forms come in quite quickly!
- Create a timetable and start slotting students in.
- As soon as I am organized, I confirm with all participating businesses and send them information about the day: where to park, how to enter the school, ask if they need any equipment, let them know of all of the participating businesses, etc.
- A week or so before the event I re-confirm with all participating businesses.
- The day of the event I have students meeting the participants at the door to carry equipment (massage tables, etc.), show them to their location, and set them up with anything that they need.
- Once class begins we stay in a quiet place outside of the spa day area and I send kids in for their treatments. Every 20 minutes students come out and new students get sent in. Inevitably, people will be away (students or businesses), so you have to do some juggling to keep things balanced and moving smoothly.
- At the end of class, students help clean up, carry equipment to cars, etc.
- At the end of the school day I send out a thank-you email to all of the participants, post on facebook and Instagram, and send a write-up and pictures to the local newspaper.
- Next class I debrief with students– What did you like the most? What did you learn? What would you like to do again?, etc. I then have student sign thank-you cards with personal messages to each business and then I mail them off.
It is a lot of planning, but well worth it. On more than one occasion I have been told that “This was the best day of my life!”