Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What makes survival lessons different to traditional lessons?

A: The KASS program is very different to most swimming lessons.

Children learn breath control, how to reach, turn and grab the pool ledge, then we will teach them how to swim (dog paddle) to the side, and then how to float. Finally they will learn how to combine a swim with a float in a sequence to get to the side. If they are unable to get to safety they will remain floating until help arrives. This is all taught without floaties or parents/carer in the water with the child.

Regular swim lesson for a 1-5 year olds are just water familiarisation, not survival lessons. Most children that drown in Australia are under the age of 4 so it only makes sense that these are the children that are also learning how to swim and float without floaties or parents holding them in the water singing nursery rhymes. To get results quickly, our program is designed for approximately 8 weeks (40 lessons) where the child comes for a private 10 minute lessons 5 days/week (Monday to Friday).

Q: Why is KASS different?

A: There are five distinct ways in which KASS is different form any other swim school:

Private 1:1

All KASS lessons are private, one instructor per student. This enables KASS instructors to:

  • Tailor the lesson to each individual child, based on behavior and ability.

Maximise the effectiveness of the lesson with 100% swim time and eliminates the distraction other children in the same lesson may have on accomplishing the goal from the lesson.

No Flotation devices

KASS lessons do not use any floatation devices, aids or goggles when a child is learning the 6-8 week survival program. Reasons;

  • Children will become accustom to them
  • Creates a false sense of security
  • They are comforts kids won’t have if they accidently fall

No parents in the water

KASS do not allow parents in the water with their children when they are still learning, as parents:

  • Do not have the knowledge or training to teach their child adequate skills
  • Can delay the learning process
  • Act like a floatation device giving the child a false sense of security in the water
  • Teaching adequate skills and playing in the water are two very different things.

Specialised Instructors

Each KASS Instructor:

  • Has a minimum of 60 hours of in water training
  • Study child psychology, learning theory, physiology, and the behavioural sciences.
  • Must be certified swimming instructors. This gives them a greater understanding of the differences between the two types of lessons.
  • Is encouraged to develop their own unique teaching style, while continuing to achieve KASS’s high standards for professionalism, safety, and knowledge.

Unique, individualised program

KASS deliver the only survival swim program in Australia, which teaches non-verbal infants, one-on-one to independently swim and float in an simulated emergency situation to help prevent tragic aquatic incidents in the future within weeks, not years.

The program reinforces the survival skills 10 minutes per student, everyday, 5 days a week for up to 6-8 weeks, averaging 30-40 lessons.

Q: What training and qualifications do the instructor have/receive to be qualified to teach my child/ren?

A: Prior to KASS Instructor training each instructor must obtain:

  1. Relevant industry qualification in Teacher of swimming and water safety (2 day course)
  2. Relevant equivalent industry qualification in Infant and preschool Aquatics (1 day course)
  3. Current CPR and first aid certificate
  4. Working with children number
  5. KASS in water training and academic work noted below

The KASS program for Student Instructor development is a comprehensive educational experience that includes actual in- water work with a certified training specialist. There is associated guided academic study of a broad base of subjects including child development and learning theory, behavioural science, anatomy, physiology and physics as they relate to infants and young children in the aquatic environment.

The training program runs for a minimum of 6 weeks where the following plan is undertaken:

  • 2 weeks of academic work introducing the student instructor to the behavioural theories and the science behind KASS lessons.
  • 6 weeks of theory and practical in water work.

Each KASS Instructor:

  • Has a minimum of 60 hours of in water training
  • Study child psychology, learning theory, physiology, and the behavioural sciences.
  • Must be certified swimming instructors. This gives them a greater understanding of the differences between the two types of lessons.
  • Is encouraged to develop their own unique teaching style, while continuing to achieve KASS’s high standards for professionalism, safety, and knowledge.

Q: What will my child learn?

A: Children learn breath control, how to reach, turn and grab the pool ledge, then we will teach the child how to swim (dog paddle) to the side, and then how to float. Finally the child will learn how to combine a swim with a float in a sequence to get to the side. If the child is unable to get to safety the child will remain floating until help arrives. This is all taught without floaties or parents/carer in the water with the child.

Q: How can. you teach children so young to float or swim?

A: KASS adapt the program to each child’s individual strengths and experiences. KASS instructors are trained in behavioural sciences, child development and of sensori-motor learning and relate this knowledge to the acquisition of aquatic survival skills which helps guide each child through the sequence of learning to swim and float.

Q: Why are the survival lessons only 10 minutes?

A: The care and safety of children is paramount. Lessons are 100% swim time for the child as they are conducted privately 1:1. Therefore, the child is using more energy and learning a new skill. We keep the lessons short and more frequent as they result in higher retention and ensures the child does not get physically fatigued and is able to focus on learning the new skill.

Q: In the survival program, why do we need to attend 5 days a week for 8 weeks?

A: Taking years to teach a child to be competent in the water is too late. Children aged 0 – 4 years are most at risk of drowning. We believe children need to be skilled before they reach walking age to ensure they are safe around water. The lessons are short and frequent to increase the retention of skill from one lesson to the next where new skills are reinforced and developed each day. To get results quickly, our program is designed for approximately 8 weeks (40 lessons) where your child comes for a private 10 minute lessons 5 days/week (Monday to Friday).

Q: Why can’t the parent be in the water with the child during lessons?

A: KASS do not allow parents in the water with their children when they are still learning, as parents:

  • Do not have the knowledge or training to teach their child adequate skills
  • Can delay the learning process
  • Act like a floatation device giving the child a false sense of security in the water
  • Teaching adequate skills and playing in the water are two very different things.

Parents are encouraged to participate in the final lesson whereby the instructor will demonstrate the correct method to interact with their child in the water to ensure the best retention of the survival skills.

Q: How do I know my child will retain their skill and not forget after the 8 weeks?

A: Once the child has learnt the Survival skills they form part of their motor skills.

There are however two main factors which interfere with the retention of skills:

  • Parents – when a child is picked up at the wrong time. This is why at the end of the program we recommend that parents get in the water with our instructors and we teach parents how to interact in the water with their child.
  • Growth – as a child grows and if they have not been in the water for some time their centre of gravity changes and the posture they need to swim and float will change slightly. If they are in the water regularly then they will adjust this as they grow. If they are not when they go back in the water after time off they will need to re adjust to ensure they have the correct posture.

Swimming improves swimming and we encourage our survival graduates to progress into our transitional lessons, which are the steps between survival and stroke lessons. Transitional lessons reinforce the survival skills and introduce different elements to swimming such as kick boards, noodles and diving for submerged objects.

Q: What happens after survival graduation?

A: Swimming improves swimming and we encourage our survival graduates to progress to our transitional lessons, which are the step between survival and stroke. Transitional lessons reinforce the survival skills of swim float swim and introduce different elements to swimming such as kick boards, noodles and diving for submerged objects

Q: Will my child cry?

A: Yes children do cry. Each child reacts differently and it is dependent on age. The child is in a new environment and performing a challenging skill that is also new to them.

Most children express this emotion through crying and depending on age this is their only form of communication.

The child is NOT crying because they are hurt or afraid or being forced to do something they are not capable of doing.

Specialised KASS instructors are constantly assessing how the child is learning, what they have mastered, and what they are still learning before progressing to the next step. If you would like to come and witness a few lessons you are more than welcome to visit any of our facilities listed on our website www.infantswim.com.au

Q: What if my child is scared of the water?

A: Fear is a learned behavior. The program is tailored to the individual child and progresses incrementally through positive reinforcement. The lessons are more frequent which allows the child to acquire the skills quicker and as they are delivered privately 1 on 1 the child is able to learn at their own pace and become comfortable in the water over the lessons as they build on their skills and accomplish new skills. Fear can unintentionally be projected from the parents/carer, one of the main reasons parent’s are not in the water with the child during the 8 week program until completion. The instructor has 100% focus on your child 100% of the time to ensure they responding appropriately to the specialised prompts and procedures.

Please read the testimonial from a parent who is a psychologist and whose children have completed the program. Click here

Q: Why are the lessons only 5 days a week and not 7 days?

A: Everybody needs a little break to rest and process newly learning information.

Q: Can my child do longer lessons over 2-3 days rather than 5 days?

A: No. The program is designed to compliment the child’s learning behaviour. We teach from positive reinforcement and if the child is fatigued they may get reinforced for incorrect behaviours. Keeping lessons short and more frequent ensures the child does not get too physically fatigued, as once a child is physically fatigued their ability to learn new skills decreases.

Q: Does my child have to be fully clothed in every lesson throughout the duration of the program?

A: No. During the survival program children are taught in swimmers or swim nappies at the end of the program once they are fully skilled they are put in clothes so they have an understanding in case they ever fell in with clothes on. It is a very different sensory experience with the clothes so this is a vital step once they have learnt all the survival skills.

Q: As part of your program is it only taught in the pool or do you conduct lessons at the beach or open water?

A: The lessons are held in a controlled environment for many safety reasons but the survival skills learned can and should be applied to all aquatic environments.

Q: Why do I see the child laid out on a towel after the lesson?

A: As part of the post lessons safety we ask the parent/carer to keep the child laying on their left side for at least a minute to encourage quicker recovery and help expel any air they have swallowed. This also allows the parent to interact with the child and tell them how good they did in the lesson again giving positive reinforcement to the child.

Q: What physical reactions will my child have to lessons?

A: Burping is normal during the lesson. Swallowing air is especially common when the child is first learning to float, and the child cries during the lesson, this allows more air to enter. Your instructor will be continually monitoring your child and take the appropriate action. Some children ma spit up a small amount while burping. However, if your child spits up anything more than a small amount of liquid while being burped, you may need to make some modification to their diet as advised by your instructor.

Q: Why does it cost more than traditional swimming lessons?

A: Firstly, the skills your child will learn are life saving skills. These skills are learnt within weeks not years. Should your child require the full 8 weeks to complete the survival program this is a total cost of $1,200. The cost is equivalent to 2 years of traditional weekly swimming lessons whereby they do not teach survival skills. If a child has been participating in traditional swimming lessons for 2 years they are not equipped with the same skills if they were to complete the KASS survival program. Most children either still wear floaties, or use aids in the water and parents believe should they fall into a body of water would not be able to save themselves.

Q: Will my child be thrown into the water?

A: No, children are not thrown into the water. Children learn breath control, in a gentle and supportive environment and once competent progress to the next stage of learning to float on their back. Nearing the end of the program the child learns to orientate themselves through guided prompts and procedures to grab the wall/edge. The child is facilitated in the water through special non-verbal techniques, which they respond to as a result of operant conditioning.

Q: My child is not walking yet should I wait until they are to start the program?

A: We start the program from 6 months which focuses on breath control and rolling to back float, staying calm and breathing until help arrives. It is more beneficial when they are 12 months/walking age as we are able to add another level of skill being the swim float swim sequence and grabbing the edge, turning and understanding safety. Please talk to one of our sales staff if you are unsure what age is best for your child.

Q: Do you simulate a drowning scenario?

A: No, we safely simulate the child falling into the water from the side of the pool. Only once the child is fully competent at all parts of the survival sequence and is competent enough to make a decision of what to do, the instructor guides the child into the water and the child responds by floating on their back and either waiting for help to arrive or doing the swim float swim sequence to safety depending on age.

Because at Kids Aquatic Survival School we want children to experience this scenario in a safe and controlled environment so they understand they have the skill and can apply if needed in the future to prevent an aquatic tragedy.

Q: Will my child get a fear of the water?

A: No. Fear is a learnt behaviour. Some parents will tell us their child gets upset when they take them to the pool. In lessons the child is always asked for more if they can swim for 1 metre we will start working towards 2 metres. This means that lessons can be physically hard for the child. So if the parent takes the child to the pool they may think, “this is going to be hard work again” so they may get upset. This is not a fear this is apprehension about performing a hard task, which we all get. A fear of water would mean that the child would not go into a bath or shower, as these are both water environments. If a parent makes water activities outside of lessons fun and not always hard work all water activities will be enjoyable and the best thing is they will have the skills to enjoy themselves safely.

Q: As a parent/carer do I need to any additional swimming with my child during the program?

A: We encourage parents to have fun with their child in the water during the program. Speak to your instructor about how you can be in the water with your child that will not interfere with the skills they are learning throughout the program

Q: What is shallow water blackout?

A: Shallow Water Black Out is the loss of consciousness in water after hyperventilation.

Please note KASS Instructors follow strict safety protocols to ensure the above is not a factor in our lessons. Instructors have 100% focus on your child 100% of the time to ensure they responding appropriately and constantly monitoring your child and their breath control to ensure this never happens.

Q: Will my child be forced or traumatised?

A: At KASS, we do not use force. We facilitate a child to learn to feel the water and understand how it supports them and how to move through it. We focus on children’s natural buoyancy to result in floating independently.

Trauma would cause an aversion to water. If children were traumatised from the survival program they would not want to be near water. Be it pools, beaches, baths or showers. Nearly 80% Of children who complete the survival program progress onto transitional lessons with KASS. Those who don’t continue with KASS do continue their love for water and some continue lessons with other providers due to location, cost or other commitments.

Our lessons are conducted in a safe and controlled environment through positive reinforcement. Many of our parents who bring their children to KASS are doctors, ambulance officers, psychologists and teachers.

Please read the testimonial from a parent who is a psychologist and whose children have completed the program. Click here

Q: Whom do you teach?

A: KASS teach children aged 6 months to 6 years. We teach different cultures and range of abilities.

Q: What we DO V’s What we DON’T DO 

DO DON’T
DO Teach through positive reinforcement, non verbal prompts and touch DON’T Sing nursery rhymes and play games
DO Allow the child to understand their own natural buoyancy DON’T Use force
DO Facilitate and safely guide the child in the water DON’T Push, throw or chuck
DO teach children through private one on one lessons which enable the instructor to tailor the lessons to the individual child DON’T conduct group lessons as each child’s needs are specific to the individual
DO Ensure the child is working toward a competency and learning a new skill each lesson DON’T have parents in the water. Because most parents:

  • Do not have the knowledge or training to teach their child adequate skills.
  • Can delay the learning process
  • Act like a floatation device giving the child a false sense of security in the water
  • Teaching adequate skills and playing in the water are two very different things.

 

 

 

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