I hear you say your priority is survival skills. Will my child learn to actually swim?
Yes. At ISR, we believe that part of survival for a child who can walk, is swimming. Children learn the swim-float-swim sequence so that they could get themselves to safety. The difference in our program is that they will learn swimming AND survival skills and how to be an aquatic problem solver.
Will my child need additional lessons?
Based on our research, we know that refresher lessons are important because children change so much both cognitively and physically during the first 4 – 5 years of life. It is important that their water survival skills grow with their bodies. Frequency depends on the child’s age, growth rate, skill level and confidence level. The goal of refresher lessons is to help your child adjust his/her new body size and weight to his/her existing skill level. Your instructor will work with your child to help fine-tune his or her aquatic experience to assist with building efficiency, which will result in self-confidence. This is especially important if your child has not been able to practice any appropriate aquatic skill between seasons.
Why do you have the children swim in clothes?
Because most children who fall in the water, do so fully clothed. We want our students to have experience with such a situation. If a child has experienced the sensations of being in the water in clothing prior to an emergency situation, he/she is less likely to experience panic and be able to focus on the task at hand. If you have ever jumped in the water with clothes on, then you know that there is a significant difference in the weight and feel with clothes as opposed to a bathing suit.
Why are lessons 5 days per week and for only 10 minutes?
The reason for this is multifaceted. First, repetition and consistency are crucial elements of learning for young children. Research shows that short, more frequent lessons result in higher retention. Second, most children have fairly short attention spans and will not be able to focus on the task for longer and we want to take advantage of the best time for learning. A third reason is that, though the pool temperature is maintained at 25 - 31 degrees Celsius, the temperature is still lower than your child’s body temperature. Lessons are work and therefore children will also be losing body heat. Instructors check students regularly for temperature fatigue since this is an indicator of physical fatigue.
Do you have children that just can’t learn the skills?
No. Every child can learn. It is my job to find the best way to communicate the information so that it makes sense to the child. I set your child up to be successful every time. I start where they are at.
Are swimming lessons for infants and young children safe?
YES! ISR is dedicated to safety and maintaining numerous safety protocols to promote safe lessons. Your child’s health and well-being are our highest priority and are closely monitored on a daily basis. In addition, your child’s medical and developmental history is a mandatory part of the ISR International registration process, all of which is held strictly confidential. All ISR instructors undergo an intensive and rigorous training that far exceeds any other training program of this kind. Each ISR instructor is also required to attend a yearly re-certification symposium that includes quality control as well as continuing education. Your education in the area of aquatic safety for your entire family is an integral part of your child’s lessons. You will receive access to the “Parent Resource Guide”, written by Dr. Harvey Barnett and JoAnn Barnett, which will inform you of every aspect of swimming for infants and children. With research, you will find that ISR is the safest survival swimming program, but also the most effective for teaching infants and young children.
What is the AAP’s (American Academy of Pediatrics) position on swimming lessons for young children?
In May 2010, the AAP has now changed its policy regarding the age at which children may start swimming lessons, based on research stating that swim lessons may actually provide reduction in drowning risk of children ages 1 to 4 years old. That study, “Association Between Swimming Lessons and Childhood Drowning” published in the Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, March, 2009, by Brenner et. al. was the first study to probe the relationship between drowning reduction and swimming skills. That study concluded that, “Participation in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in the 1 to 4 year old children…” The AAP encourages parents to consider that starting water-survival skills training at an early age must be individualized based on the child’s frequency of exposure to water, emotional maturity, physical limitations and health concerns related to swimming pools.
What is ISR and how is it different from other swimming programmes?
ISR is the product of over 45 years of ongoing development in the area of aquatic survival instruction for infants and children. ISR’s primary focus is to teach your child to become a productive swimmer, or floater in any depth of water. The goal of ISR is that your child becomes an “aquatic problem solver.” ISR will greatly increase your child’s chance of surviving an aquatic accident, even when fully clothed!
Can you really teach a child who is not verbal how to swim?
Yes. Consider that children learn how to sit, crawl and walk before they learn to speak. Because we teach through sensori-motor learning, verbal skills are not required for a child to acquire Self-Rescue skills. We are able to communicate with our students through touch and positive reinforcement while striving to set our students up for success every step of the way.
Why don’t parents participate in the water during the lessons?
We do not want the baby to initially associate the water with the love, attention and affection of the parent while in the water. Also, it takes incredible concentration and objectivity to teach the baby how to respond to an aquatic emergency and our research shows that parents often find it too difficult to be objective to be effective teaches with their children own children in the water.
How do the children react during the first few lessons?
Children often fuss during the first few lessons because they are in a new environment and around new people. As your child becomes more confident in his/her ability in the water, the fussing will decrease. It is not unlike the first time you tried a new exercise class, or were asked to perform a task at work that you’d never done before: the first time you try a new task it is always challenging, until you get the hang of it. It is the same for your young child. Your child is learning to perform a skill that he/she has never done before.
Will my child fear the water because of lessons?
There is an important difference between being fearful and being apprehensive because you are not yet skilled in a new environment. ISR is not like traditional swim lessons; it is a drowning prevention programme that teaches survival swimming. Sometimes as a parent, you make choices for your child’s safety, like sitting in a car seat, because you know they are important. The same can be said for ISR. FUN can be defined as when SKILL meets CHALLENGE. Once competent in their skills, many children cannot be dragged away from the pool. They are having entirely too much FUN.