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Turn, Reach & Grab Safety

KASS lessons provide students with safe, effective opportunities to learn about being in the water and how to respond appropriately to the demands placed on them by that environment.

One of the many vital survival skills we teach children in the KASS Survival and Learn to Swim Program is to turn, reach and grab safety.

At KASS lessons, the training environment is the pool, and therefore safety is the pool edge. This helps to show the child that the wall is secure and safe.

At KASS we discuss goals with the parent and how we intend to realise those goals based on what we observe their child doing in the water each lesson. We teach children the turn, reach and grab safety survival skill by placing the child in different positions in the pool and prompt the child to turn to the wall, which we refer to as wall turns.

Initially the child is placed on different angles to the wall with one of the child’s hands on the wall and his face above the water. The child is placed not facing directly at the wall. They are placed in the water at a slight angle and they have to work on turning and grabbing onto the wall. Every time the child grabs the wall they are to hold with two hands this encourages them to use two hands to hold the wall no matter how they grab onto the wall.

As the child masters one skill we then increase the difficultly in small increments. This would involve a greater distance from the wall so the child’s hand does not touch it and our proximity to the child, so the child begins to problem solve and use the learned aquatic survival skills to reach the wall and grab the edge. We then increase the difficulty again and progress to a sit-in whereby the child in placed into the water from a sitting position out of the water on the pool edge.

The child is always encouraged to turn to the wall/pool edge, NOT the instructor.

We want children to identify the pool edge as safety, because the instructor or parent won’t be in the water with them in an aquatic emergency such as should they accidentally fall into water unnoticed, which is how nearly 80% of toddlers in Australia drown.

Call 1800 543 779 or email info@infantswim.com.au to learn more about the KASS Survival and Learn to Swim Program

Watch a video explaining the survival technique “turn, reach and grab” here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aquatic Behaviour

Water safety is an attitude that is built up through repeated experiences. Therefore, BEHAVIOUR in and around water is very IMPORTANT.

The commonly referred terms include head first entries, jumping entries both of which encourage the child to jump and submerge into water whilst the instructor or parent rescues them.

The association of “1,2,3 jump” and I will catch you, is creating a DANGEROUS behaviour for children in and around water. Furthermore, teaching children to associate nursery rhymes and songs such as “humpty dumpty” whilst they fall into the water and rescued by their parents is giving children a false sense of security, because what happens when the parent is not there to catch them?

Children are inherently curious and inquisitive. They don’t perceive danger or have the knowledge to assess an environment to be safe or unsafe. As parents/carers, educators and as a community it is our job to protect them. That doesn’t mean we should remove all possible dangers, because that isn’t reality. We need to equip our children with the skills and knowledge to respond appropriately to dangerous situations and environments. Although certain explorative behaviours are normal, parents and caregivers must provide adequate supervision at all times.

In Australia, 100% of toddler drownings occur when the child is not being supervised and nearly 80% of drownings in young children occur due to FALLS INTO WATER. Yes, we need to be introducing children to safe entry practices, but most importantly the child needs to be skilled to SURVIVE in the water BEFORE they are taught to enter independently.

That’s why at Kids Aquatic Survival School we don’t encourage children to jump into water until fully skilled.

 

No Floatation Devices

Floatation devices such as swim vests, arm bands, puddle jumper, water wings or swim trainers are NOT a substitute for supervision. They can give a child a false sense of security in water and create dependant behaviour of being vertical in water.

Unfortunately, the child is not able to stay vertical in the water without them. Infants and children do not have the strength to hold their head up in water. Should they fall into water, which happens to nearly 80% of children who drown, they won’t understand their own buoyancy.

Floatation devices allow children to be in the water for such a long time with their head up, eyes ahead, swimming around comfortably. Then when you take the aids off, they are unable to maintain this posture without them on. Generally speaking most infants that fall into water don’t have these devises on.

At Kids Aquatic Survival School (KASS) we want children to have a realistic perception of what they can do in the water. KASS lessons do not use any floatation devices, aids or goggles when a child is learning the KASS survival and learn to swim program.

WHY?

– Children become accustom to them
– Creates a false sense of security
– Create a dependent behaviour
– They don’t allow the child to understand their buoyancy in the water
– They are comforts kids won’t have if they accidentally fall into a body of water

 

Call 1800 543 779 or email info@infantswim.com.au to learn more and book your child into our accelerated survival program to increase their water safety.

 

#survivalswimming #swimfloatswim #swimfloatsurvive#drowningprevention #kidsaquaticsurvivalschool #nomoredrownings

 

A child’s response to water

Children can respond differently to water.

The article referenced below by North Shore Pediatric Therapy provides a valuable insight into the different sensory stages children experience with swimming, such as;

  1. Motor Planning
  2. Proprioception
  3. Vestibular
  4. Tactile
  5. Auditory

At Kids Aquatic Survival School all instructors are trained in the areas of;

  1. Child development and learning theory
  2. Behavioural science
  3. Anatomy
  4. Physiology and physics as they relate to infants and young children in the aquatic environment.

All KASS lessons are private, one instructor per student. This enables KASS instructors to tailor the lesson to each individual child, based on behaviour and ability. It also maximises 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.

At KASS, we provide a safe and controlled environment, which allows the child to learn through consistency and positive reinforcement which builds tonnes of confidence!

Call 1800 543 779 to discuss our programs or visit our Lessons and Techniques page

Sensory Strategies for Swimmers

#swimfloatsurvive #competencebuildsconfidence #kidsaquaticsurvivalschool

Swimming out of your comfort zone

We are all guilty of continuing to do things we are comfortable with because it feels familiar, safe and secure. Each of us has our own comfort zone, be it psychological, emotional or behavioural.

By stepping out of our comfort zone we challenge ourselves to transition, grow, transform and ultimately create change.

Many of the skills taught through the Kids Aquatic Survival School (KASS) survival program, will be the first time a child has been required to perform. Such as;

  1. Being in the water
  2. Being in the water without their parent
  3. Floating assisted on their back
  4. Putting their face underwater

Many children might find these tasks challenging which may be outside of their comfort zone, but it is certainly within their capabilities.

At KASS, children are taught in a positive and safe environment through small incremental changes. We also make every lesson count, so the child is taught a new skill, which challenges them. KASS ensures the child makes a successful attempt at each skill presented, in order to create a positive learning experience. Each small change accumulates and builds upon the last one and with time, reassurance, patience and given the opportunity, children can and do achieve amazing life saving skills.

Please call 1800 543 779 or email info@infantswim.com.au to book your child into our accelerated Survival Program tailored to infants from 6 months to 6 years of age.

Muscle memory and Swimming

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‘Muscle memory’ is an unconscious process. It is the movement which muscles become accustomed to over time. With practice, skeletal muscle activity that is learned can become essentially automatic due to the neuromuscular system memorising the motor skills.

Babies are not born with muscle memory. They are not born with the ability to crawl or walk. As a child becomes skilled at walking they fall down less, become better at balancing and are then able to incorporate more coordinated activities such as running and jumping.

Therefore, the only way for a baby to learn muscle memory is to physically practice with trial and error. We want infants and young children to perform their learned aquatic survival skills instinctively and automatically when needed.

At KASS, we encourage correct form from the beginning of a child’s survival and learn to swim experience. If you don’t use correct form at the start you can enhance bad habits. For example, an older child who had been previously taught to swim in a vertical position lifting their head to breathe would be considered a bad habit. Such bad habits can seriously disrupt and damage the associated muscle memory and can take time to break. However, with conscious effort it can be successfully overridden. KASS place emphasis on the new skill that is to replace the previous habit until the new muscle memory pattern is established. This is why the KASS survival and learn to swim program is taught 5 days a week for at least 40 x 10 minute lessons. It takes strong concentration by the instructor and consistency from the child to change current muscle memory.

At KASS, our instructors are trained in child development and learning theory, behavioural science, anatomy, physiology and physics as they relate to infants and young children in the aquatic environment. They can therefore associate this training and apply to the three stages of the motor learning process:
1. Cognitive Stage: The cognitive stage begins when the learner is first introduced to the motor task.
2. Associative Stage: The associative stage is where the practice of the skill begins.
3. Autonomous Stage: The autonomous stage is characterised by executing the skill automatically with no conscious thought.

Once actions are memorised by the brain, the muscles must be trained to act in a quick, fluid manner; (Mack, 2012). This is key because it lowers the time between when the brain decides to complete a movement to when the muscles actually start to move.

From our experience in teaching children the KASS survival and learn to swim program, children can develop this muscle memory in weeks with consistency and commitment. Our ultimate goal is from the program, is for the child to apply their skill as an automated process and instinctively orientate themselves in water, to roll into a back float, rest, breathe and be safe.

References:
Ellis-Christensen, T. (2012). What is Muscle Memory. Available: http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-muscle-memory.htm. Last accessed 2nd Dec 2012.
Mack, S. (2012). Does Muscle Memory Affect The Percentage in Basketball? Available: http://www.livestrong.com/article/448564-muscle-memory-affect-percentage-basketball/#ixzz26i9yQVFS. Last accessed 2nd Dec 2012.
Morley, K. (2012). Muscle Memory. Available: http://sportsnscience.utah.edu/musclememory/. Last accessed 2nd Dec 2012.
Shadmehr, R and Brashers-Krug, T. (1997). Functional Stages in the Formation of Human Long-Term Motor Memory. The Journal of Neuroscience. 17 (1), p409-419.
Muscle Memory: A Coaches Perspective
http://www.dna-sports-performance.com/muscle-memory-a-coaches-perspective/

No Bubble Blowing

AT KASS we DON’T teach children to Blow Bubbles in lessons

Why? It is unsafe for an infant to blow bubbles as this dramatically limits the time they could hold their breath if they ever got into trouble. They also need air in their lungs for buoyancy.

At KASS we have and ALWAYS will focus on learned breath control as a FIRST priority in all lessons. Breath control is a child’s ability to hold their breath before they go under the water. KASS also teach children to roll over and float if they need to take a breath. As most children under the age of 2 are not yet physically capable of independently lifting their head out of the water to take a breath.

In our experience and through the way we teach breath control to children through our survival program, we have not found the need to teach infants and toddlers to blow bubbles. Teaching a child to blow bubbles too early makes them less safe and can cause a range of problems. This is one of many reasons that we don’t teach survival lessons to children who are aged under 6 months. We use specific methods to establish breath control and teach children to hold their breath when their mouth and nose is submerged in water. This practice keeps air inside the lunge, which in turn, increases buoyancy. If a baby or young child has lungs full of air, they will stay close to the surface easier, giving them time in an aquatic emergency. Blowing bubbles teaches infants to empty their lungs, which increases the chance of sinking under water faster.

The theory is that blowing bubbles to release air keeps children from inhaling water (aspirating).  The reality is, when a child is properly taught breath control with correct professional instruction from the beginning, their body automatically protects itself from water going into the lungs. In our lessons, children learn to respond to the natural environment rather than a person.

Over 13 years of teaching a full range of children including children with special needs, we are yet to encounter a child that has not responded to our methods of establishing breath control. In our opinion, teaching a child to blow bubbles too early makes them less safe and can cause a range of problems. Babies need to hold their breath so they can submerge and swim distances. Blowing bubbles will increase the chance of the baby inhaling and ingesting water. At KASS, we wait until breath control is well mastered before we teach children to exhale their bubbles underwater. By the bubble blowing stage the child has already learnt breath control, swimming to the edge or safety and independent floating. At this point they progress onto transitional lessons where diving for submerged objects and stroke is introduced and the slow release of breath is monitored and instructed.

This is now industry knowledge. Even our biggest critic, Laurie Laurence has shifted his swim teaching philosophy and no longer condones bubble blowing under 2 years in his lessons, because he “noticed that as soon as babies blow out their bubbles then they must take a breath in”. (See article link below).

At KASS we are always looking at continual improvement with keeping the child’s safety always paramount.

Call 1800 543 779 or email info@infantswim.com.au to book your child into our accelerated survival program to increase their water safety.

Reference: worldwideswimschool.com/blowing-bubbles-2-years-4-months/

Keep kids swimming throughout winter

During summer children are keen to participate in swimming activities and frequently practice their aquatic survival skills outside of lessons without even realising. This additional practice is often very noticeable when children return to lessons showing progression.

However when the temperatures start to drop, the idea of swimming and lessons often loses its appeal.

It is important to remember that taking extended breaks where children aren’t swimming at all can set them back and when they eventually do return to the water after weeks or months they will have a LOT of catching up to do.

A key factor of how we learn – especially in children – is through repetition. Breaking this pattern could see children losing the skills they once had and spending a longer time in a level reacquiring those skills. Make sure you’re continuing your children’s swimming lessons to ensure time spent previously learning isn’t wasted.

When children have had an extended absence from the water or lessons we often see a decrease in retention of skills. Continuing swimming lessons throughout winter will allow them to continue learning and also help them to develop skills that will enhance their aquatic survival and safety in and around water.

Call 1800 543 779 or email info@infantswim.com.au to enrol your child into our accelerated survival program or if they are an existing student they might benefit from an intensive week of lessons delivered throughout the school holidays to enhance their water safety.

#survivalskills #survivalswimlessons #swiminwinter#kidsaquaticsurvivalskills #aquaticsurvivalskills#survivalswimming #aquaticsurvival

 

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