We recommend starting lessons at 4 months as we have seen the younger children start the better the results. We actually teach them to move independently in the water by using the method designed by Laurie Lawrence.
It is a child-centred program, which is taught with parent/carer and child together in the water. Parents are an integral part of their child's aquatic education by providing guidance and support through activities that provide for the development of independence, exploration and water safety skills.
Parents are the teachers (we are instructors), so every time the baby has a bath it is a swim lesson. Independence is the main focus therefore no floatation devices are attached to the baby; the child needs to learn their own buoyancy. The carers are all require to wear a T-shirt in the water and we are constantly teaching the parent to have light hands and the baby needs to hold on. If they ever fell in we want them to be the ready to hold their breath and garb hold of something or someone, not be waiting for someone to catch.
Wonder uses songs, games and activities to teach children a variety of skills including entries, floating, breath control and movement.
Wonder has 3 awards that are arranged by age groups. Within each age group are two stages which allow for a stepping stone of progression.
Strands The Wonder program is a well-rounded and balanced program that provides opportunities for experiences in the key areas for development of aquatic skills. Within each stage of a Wonder Award there are 1-2 skills from each strand. The following strands are:
Getting Wet is about entering the water safely using different entries appropriate for each motor development stage progressing towards encouraging safe independent entries and exits.
Keeping Balance provides experiences of body orientation and rotation skills which are vital for developing survival and mobility skills.
Breathing Skills develop confidence in getting the face wet and learning to submerge. Fun activities promote relaxation and breath control.
Kick and Arm Action activities promote kicking and paddling to develop basic propulsion skills. Initially, these skills will be rudimentary but as crawling, walking and running skills are gained on land, coordination of kicking and paddling skills will develop and become stronger.
Going Underwater is a gradual process encouraged as each child shows readiness to participate and initiate the skill themselves. Using simple cue words, actions and songs, this will create a fun and non-threatening environment to support the learning of this skill.
Staying Afloat activities focus on experiencing floating on the front and back. Learning to float is an important skill not only to progress to propulsion but is an essential survival skill for every child.
Water Safety is encouraged through emphasising the message 'always swim with an adult'. Introducing young children to a simple safety message early in their aquatic education establishes a positive attitude towards safe behaviour.
Parent Education focuses on the 4 key messages of the Keep Watch drowning prevention program:
1. Supervise your Child: always supervise your child within arms’ reach
2. Restrict Access to Water: provide barriers to water locations
3. Be Water Aware: introduce your child to water
4. Learn Resuscitation
All lessons ran in accordance to Royal life saving Victoria Swim and surrive levels. For more information visit http://www.swimandsurvive.com.au/