Complementary Therapy Workshops

The Ursuline has been one of the first Waterford schools to introduce a series of Complementary Therapy workshops to its students. For the past two years, Transition Year, Leaving Certificate Applied and Sixth Year students, as well as teaching staff, have all experienced the benefits of Complementary Therapies such as Indian Head Massage, Acupressure, Holistic Massage, Aromatherapy and Reflexology. Not only are these workshops an introduction to a possible career, or enhancement of careers such as nursing, sports therapies etc, they also enable students and staff to de-stress, centre, and instil a calm approach to life for themselves and others.

The workshops are mostly "hands on" practical experience. Up to 75% of knowledge is gained through seeing and doing and during the course of each of the one hour workshops the students can be assured of plenty to see and do.

Allison Gibney, the workshops tutor, has experience in Beauty Therapy as well as Complementary Therapies spanning fifteen years. Allison is an approved I.T.E.C. tutor and is also a trained instructor in the Massage in Schools Programme, which is dedicated to introducing children as young as five to the benefits of massage. The children/students are taught to massage each other over their clothes/uniforms. The benefits of this programme include:

  • Increased concentration during class due to ability to calm and de-stress at start of lesson.
  • Substantial decrease in cases of bullying
  • Marked improvement in exam/class test results
  • Marked improvement in quiet, shy and special needs/additions children

Further information on the Massage in Schools programme is available on


The earlier that a person is taught how to deal with day to day stress then there will be less chance of developing stress related illnesses throughout their life.

Film Workshop

Transition year students were privileged to be in the presence of Ger Cleary, a man who kindly took time out of his busy schedule to give them a workshop on motion pictures. Ger is an actor, director and screenplay writer. Apart from being very knowledgeable, he was also side-splittingly funny, which added even more enjoyment to the experience. This workshop lasted a full school day and was indeed most enjoyable.

To begin Ger explained about the Lumiere brothers and how cinema was invented due to their camera that shot 24 times per second. Then, he showned clips of the three earliest movies ever made.

    1. workers leaving the factory
    2. the Lumiere brothers with their family
    3. a group of men pulling down a wall.

The third film was also the first example of visual effects in movies, as after the wall came down, the clip was played in reverse and audiences witnesses the wall re-build itself.

After watching these, Ger appointed five students to act in their very own silent film and showed some of the actions that were used in the 1900s to convey emotion as sound was not audible then. The film was about the theft of a banana and was very enjoyable for the rest of the class to witness their friends (who looked rather funny, running around in top hats) acting in a Charlie Chaplin type manner.

Moving swiftly on, Ger then explained how films began to change when people learned how to move the camera about, zoom in on actors' faces and cut to different scenes. They soon became much more interesting because now the entire thing didn't take place on the one set. Once again, a group were appointed to act in the next short film, which was entitled "The devil made me do it." This was another silent movie, but this time the camera was moved about, there were close-ups of the students and even the devil himself made an appearance.

Then onto the third film. This one however was set in the modern day and included many special effects. It also had sound and colour unlike the first two films.

Besides explaining to us how motion pictures developed through the ages, Ger also taught us a few life lessons by giving an account of how he broke into the industry. From listening to his story, it became clear that it really is a long way to the top and it takes a lot of work to get there. This workshop was most interesting and enjoyable.


The percussion workshop was a wonderful opportunity for students who are not involved in music and who do not play an instrument to experience music outside the classroom. The fact that the drumming and rhythms were so simple made it enjoyable rather than tedious and it was great to hear it all come together at the end of the workshop.

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St Angela's School, Ursuline Convent, Waterford

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