Frequently Asked Questions
HOW ARE THESE LESSONS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SWIMMING PROGRAMS?
Our primary focus is to teach you child to become a productive swimmer, or floater in any depth of water. The goal is that your child become an “aquatic problem solver”.
AT WHAT AGE CAN I ENROLL MY INFANT AND WHAT WILL HE/SHE LEARN?
Infants can begin lessons as soon as they can crawl and are at least 6 months old. Infants in this age group are taught to roll over and maintain a backfloat position in the event of an accidental fall into the water. As skills are mastered, your instructor will invite you to participate in lessons and learn how to practice with your baby at home to maintain skills. You will also have the opportunity for your baby to practice skills in a diaper and different types of clothing since most aquatic accidents happen when you are least expecting it and children are fully clothed. As students become confident is their skills, the instructor will gently guide them through different types of simulated entries into the pool and taught how to use their skills in different situations. Students are never thrown into the pool and are carefully monitored for signs of fatigue or stress. The goal is for students to become skilled and confident, not fearful.
Teaching your infant to float takes approximately 4-5 weeks. Private 10 minutes lessons per day are held 4 days a week, Monday through Thursday.
If you own a hot tub, pool, boat, or just enjoy the water, we highly recommend Infant Rollback-to-Float training once your baby begins to crawl.
IF MY CHILD IS OVER A YEAR OLD, WHAT COULD HE/SHE LEARN?
Children over the age of one year and have been walking for at least 6 weeks are taught to swim with their face in the water for approximately 3-5 seconds, and when they sense the need for air, to rollback onto their back to float for approximately 3-5 seconds. After resting and breathing, they will roll over and continue to swim for another 3-5 seconds and continue this sequence as many times as necessary until they reach a point of safety. Students are taught to stay and rest in a backfloat position if they become too tired and cannot reach a point of safety. These skills allow children to be independent in the water by teaching them how to safety rest and breathe as they learn to swim farther distances.
As students become confident is their skills, the instructor will gently guide them through different types of simulated entries into the pool and taught how to use their skills in different situations. Students are never thrown into the pool and are carefully monitored for signs of fatigue or stress. The goal is for students to become skilled and confident, not fearful.
As skills are mastered, your instructor will invite you to participate in lessons and learn how to practice with your child at home to maintain skills.
This skill set can be achieved in approximately 6-8 weeks for children 3 and under and children over the age of 4 often complete lessons in as few as 4-6 weeks. Private 10 minutes lessons per day are held 4 days a week, Monday through Thursday. Everyone learns at a different pace and lessons are individualized to each child’s progress and abilities, so the exact number of lessons will vary.
WHY AREN’T PARENTS IN THE WATER DURING THE LESSONS?
It takes incredible concentration and objectivity to teach children to swim and float independently and parents often find it too difficult to be objective to be effective teachers with their own children in the water. Your little one will be looking to you for reassurance and how he or she should react to lessons. Be a great cheerleader and project a positive attitude before, during and after lessons to help your child feel more comfortable.
As skills are mastered, you will be invited to get in the pool and participate in lessons to learn how to play and interact with your child in the water to help them maintain and develop their new aquatic skills.
WILL MY CHILD BECOME FEARFUL DUE TO LESSONS?
There is an important difference between being fearful and being apprehensive because you are not yet skilled in a new environment. The lessons taught at MI Swim School require hard work and most children are used to playing and doing what they want in the water. Your child may not happily skip to his or her lesson each day at first, but that’s okay. Sometimes as a parent, you make sure your child does things for his or her safety, like wearing a seat belt, because you know they are important. The same can be said for swim lessons.
As the lessons progress and your child becomes more skilled with each passing lesson, the emotions and feelings of uncertainty for both you and your child should be replaced by feelings of confidence for hard work and accomplishment.
Your Instructor has had extensive training in child development and is able to pick up cues and to be acutely aware of your child’s sensitivities to the lesson environment and to develop an individualized lesson plan. The goal is to develop a skilled and confident aquatic problem solver.
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.
WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS A MEDICL CONDITION?
If you believe your child has any medical condition that might reasonably affect his/her safe participation in lessons, please explain the condition in your enrollment form and have your child’s physician provide a written clearance to swim before lessons begin.
WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS SPECIAL NEEDS?
If you believe your child may have a special need that may affect lessons, please call to schedule an appointment to discuss your child’s individual needs prior to scheduling lessons. There will be a very detailed screening and clearances from any and all specialists that treat your children may be required prior to the start of lessons.
WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS?
Ginger Blackman was initially trained in 2007, spending 6 weeks in the water working beside a Master Instructor and Senior Master Instructor. In addition to the in-water time, I have received instruction in the areas of child development and learning theory, the behavioral sciences; and anatomy, physiology and physics as they relate to infants and young children in the aquatic environment. After 3 years as Certified Infant Swim Instructor, I underwent additional training and development to become a Master Instructor in order to teach and mentor other instructors. Since that time, I have safely taught around 1000 infants and children and Infant Swim Instructors here in Brevard, across the country and as far away as Australia! I am CPR Certified and insured. Teaching is my passion and I thoroughly enjoy working with babies and children and watching their skills and confidence grow!
WHAT ABOUT HE USE OF FLOTATION DEVICES AND LIFE JACKETS?
Children who have become accustomed to using devices like “floaties” or flotation swimsuits, Puddle Jumpers, vests, rings, etc, have become comfortable in a completely different posture in the water than what is required to learn to effectively swim and float. These devices hold the child up vertically in the water, while swimming and floating require a horizontal posture in the water. Thus, it’s not uncommon for children who have had this type of exposure to the water to need more lessons, rather than fewer. While a Coast-Guard approved pfd is required for children to wear while boating, any use of flotation devices while swimming DURING the time your child is in enrolled in lessons will undermine and adversely affect your child’s success in lessons and will inevitably cause him or her to require additional lessons to master skills. If flotation devices are used AFTER completion of lessons, your child will likely revert to a vertical posture in the water, putting his or her skills at risk and requiring additional lessons to remediate. Please do not allow your child to use these devices (or discontinue use ASAP) and discuss with your instructor appropriate pool play activities that will encourage further development and not cause skill regression.
WHAT FURTHER LESSONS WILL MY CHILD NEED?
We recommend that you bring your child back for refresher lessons. Frequency depends on the child’s age, growth rate, skill level and confidence level. The goal of refreshers is to help your child adjust his/her new body size and weight to his 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 you child has not been able to practice any appropriate aquatic skill between seasons. While NO program can “drown proof” your child, these lessons typically have a 94-100% retention rate up to one year later. 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 aquatic skill and abilities grow with their bodies. Your instructor will help you develop a maintenance schedule for refresher classes to continually adjust and develop your child’s aquatic skills.