Our main philosophy is confidence and fun first, from which we base our 5 principles:
1. Confidence -
Once we find we can float or balance in the water, our confidence grows, we aim to do this by not allowing anyone to rely or become dependent on floats as this only heightens fear and anxiety when the time comes to move on. We favour independence and self reliance over floats. That being said floats are used if necessary especially with extremely nervous swimmers -even adults- but we use them minimally. We ban armbands and if we do use floats we only use swim belts and noodles. We are far from a traditional swim school and will have a full lesson of jumping in or star floats if we deem it necessary to build confidence. As once we have confidence progression increases dramatically.
2. Fun -
If we don't have fun then whats the point! Everyone no matter old or young learns faster if they are enjoying themselves. Each of our lessons should be full of laughter.
3. Body language -
Your body gives you away even when you are desperately trying to put on a brave face. Reading these signs helps us to recognise anxieties and fears and deal with them appropriately. Children will often show this as being quiet and shy or the complete reverse and acting disruptively, we get to know everyone as quickly as possible and find the best ways to combat these behaviours, increasing confidence and therefore boosting progress. Due to fear and anxiety we tend to curl up into ourselves as a form of protection, we do this mostly without even realising it, usually its by crossing our arms or hunching up our shoulders and lowering our chin. In the pool this comes across in the same way, bringing everything in close to feel safe and protected but in the water this has the opposite effect, pulling us down and making us feel unbalanced. Correcting this as early as possible, by gaining trust and with encouragement to stretch out and put faces in, boosts confidence is our own ability and strengthens our skill, enabling faster progression.
4. Harnessing fear -
It is fine to have fears and worries, we all have them. But they tend to disappear pretty quickly once we follow 1-3. We build up trust with our swimmers ensuring they feel comfortable and calm. We work with everyone individually at their own pace. We encourage everyone to try something new and or that scares them as often as possible, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, we will spend as long as needed on each challenge, as once accomplished it boosts confidence and helps diminish the fear altogether.
5. Empathy and Equity over Equality -
Equity is giving each person what they need to be successful, no matter what level they start from, using empathy to judge the best way in which to do so. Equality is treating everyone the same and expecting the same results. Although we do treat everybody equally in terms of safety rules and procedures, our teaching methods even in groups will differ from person to person. Finding each individuals learning style and using it to help bring out their full potential, giving options and asking opinions, while still maintaining control of the class, helping each swimmer to feel involved and confident during their lessons.