Ages 6 to 36 months. Teacher / Pupil Ratio 1 : 6
Infants and toddlers are extremely vulnerable and we have, under the circumstances, adopted a very cautious approach to infant and toddler swimming. Ours is a GENTLE, FUN approach to teaching babies where the parent or caregiver accompanies the child in the pool. Nursery rhymes and songs are used as a medium of instruction and toddlers are taught through directed play and praise. Every game / activity is swimming-skill related. Toddlers drown at three times the rate of any other age group and our instructors act as facilitators and assist parents to understand that there is no mystery in teaching babies. It is just a matter of simple and logical reactions to normal behaviour so as to shape this behaviour to be effective in water. Lack of knowledge of an infant’s potential in water is the cause of children growing up alienated and fearful of water. Fear of water is acquired and the sooner the child is re-introduced to water, the more harmonious the transition from the natural environment to the aquatic environment. In other words, this early re-introduction to water prevents aquaphobia, which is more likely to develop as a child grows older.
Infants & toddlers, who commence swimming lessons from the age of 6 months and upwards, are taught to turn land skills into aquatic skills and become waterborne far sooner than other children, who may only commence swimming lessons at age 3 years and over.
What Is A “Drown Proofed” Child?
In our opinion, there is no such thing as a “drown proof” child or person and any swimming school, which guarantees results in a certain period of time, should be avoided. If it sounds too good to be true, it normally is! Many of the videos circulating on the internet and YouTube are sensational and misleading. Parents need to know that back floating has its limitations. They should also be aware that, more often than not, forceful and harsh methods have been used, resulting in considerable trauma and thus placing the infant / toddler at risk, which is usually not shown on the video clips that pop up on the internet. Given the right set of conditions, anyone can drown, including Olympic swimmers, lifeguards and “drown proofed babies / children”. Swimming lessons may prevent drowning but, far more important is water safety training. Training yourself to be safety conscious is even more likely to prevent your child’s drowning than any training you give him / her. Ensure that home pools are enclosed with an adequate fence, LOCKED gate AND pool safety net. Be vigilant at all times, be aware that drowning happens SILENTLY and that a toddler can drown in a few centimetres of water, be cautious regarding fish ponds and water features, which may be out of sight, take care not to leave bath water or buckets of water unattended, constantly supervise your child when near water, no matter how well the child swims and even if lifeguards are present. It is impossible for even the most watchful lifeguard to keep track of everyone.
Spend Some Quality Time With Your Baby
Most parents have very busy lifestyles and one of the most important aspects of infant/toddler swimming is bonding. Baby swimming affords the parent/caregiver the rare opportunity of giving the child half an hour of his/her undivided attention. This is often the only uninterrupted period of the day that a parent is able to devote to the child.
The various activities and exercises in our baby programme have been endorsed by registered neuro-physiotherapists and occupational therapists and, besides learning water safety skills which will greatly enhance your child’s chances of survival, the benefits and spin-offs of involving your child in our swimming programme include the development of shoulder girdle stability, arm, leg and abdominal strength and co-ordination, depth perception, flexion control, sensory integration, rotation and range of motion, extension control, leverage, breath control, sequencing, memory and visual foreground. In addition, the tactile input from the use of diving rings, sticks, toys, kicker boards, pool noodles and other equipment is also advantageous.
Aquatots, Todswim & Professional Baby Swimming Teachers’ Association (PBSTA)
Robyn has been trained by Nell White, the founder of the Aquatots Swim Program, which complies with international standards for infant aquatics and with guidelines proposed for infant swimming by the American Academy of Paediatrics. Nell has a BA Honours Degree in Developmental Psychology and has served as the South African representative on the World Aquatic Baby Congress (WABC). Nell also developed the Swimming South Africa (SSA) Todswim programme for children aged 12 to 48 months. Some of our instructors have also been trained by Enid Whelan of the Professional Baby Swimming Teachers’ Association (PBSTA). Enid was invited to speak at the WABC in Brighton, United Kingdom in October 2009.
All of SwimQuest’s Infant / Toddler instructors are SSA Todswim trained and accredited