All swim schools aim to teach children the basics of swimming, while helping them progress from one level to the next. At Hubbard Family Swim School, we take great pride in the warmth, encouragement and intentionality that we have built our methodology upon. And through the system we’ve designed, our students emerge as safer, more confident and highly-skilled swimmers. Here are a few of the specific lessons our classes impart.
Cause & Effect of the Water
One of our primary philosophies is that children need to understand the potential joys and perils that water can represent. We teach them how to safely have fun while in the water, but we also make sure not to ‘save’ them from the consequences of the water. For example, when in a class, teachers will be sure kids understand the reality of what happens if they jump off a step without being invited into the pool. They will allow the child to feel the experience of being submerged – – but they will do so with kindness and with safety in mind.
The reason this is important is because our children are not being shielded from the realities of what could happen if they go into a pool, or other body of water on their own. While in our swimming lessons, they will come to have a healthy appreciation of the water and they’ll increase their awareness and learn to behave safely. They’ll also have it ingrained in them that they are never to enter the water without a parent or caregiver inviting them to do so. All of these important lessons are key to raising safer children who respect and enjoy being around water.
Along the same lines of safety, we believe that children should be able to rescue themselves, should they ever find themselves in water alone. These swimming skills are taught gradually, in tandem with other skills. We teach little ones to use their own buoyancy, coupled with kicking, to propel their bodies to the surface and get their heads above water. One of the ways they learn this is by practicing “elevators,” whereby a parent or swim instructor gives them the command, “one, two, three, up and under” and then submerges them in the water in a vertical position. At first, the instructor holds onto the child’s torso and guides them to the surface, but ultimately the child learns to get to the surface without the instructor’s help. This is a very important skill in case a child is ever alone in a pool.
Another skill that can be part of self-rescue is the backfloat. This is a great skill to rely upon if a little one needs to conserve energy and remain afloat in water until help arrives. Teaching our children to backfloat for extended periods of time, and ultimately roll over and swim – then roll back to the backfloat position – can save a life. These types of skills are practiced regularly by the kids who attend our school, that they become part of their muscle memory.
Fundamental Building Blocks
Just as self-rescue swimming skills are important to our little swimmers, we also want them to have a solid foundation for a variety of swim strokes. In our kids’ swimming lessons, we start by helping them feel comfortable in the water, which is actually one of the most important things a child can learn. From there, we progress to submersions, backfloats, rollovers and ultimately independence in the water. Breath control is key – the foundation of everything they learn – if we force skills before the student is comfortable underwater they will struggle to learn the skills… they will lack confidence and develop fear.
For every visible skill our kids master, there are easily 50 skills they’ve learned along the way. This means that the children are always being challenged and encouraged to progress and grow. Our classes begin and end the same way every single class, so little ones can become comfortable with the same routine. This is a big part of helping children to transition into (and out of) our classes, and prepare them to begin learning new skills and reinforcing those they’ve already learned.