Survival  FAQ

Teaching the science of swimming since 2003!


Do they actually learn to swim?

  • Yes, and quickly! 
  • Children walking well (usually around 15 months and up) will learn to swim a short distance in Week 1 or 2.  For babies not yet walking, independent floating is the focus of the course.

What if my child can't put their face in the water?

  • Breath control is a skill; submerging the head is not.  All students will submerge their heads several times starting on Day 1; please be prepared for this to happen!  Practicing pouring water on your faces together in the bathtub before your lessons begin may help increase their comfort level with water on the face.

How long are survival lessons?

  • 15 minutes only!

Why classes only 15 minutes?

  • Young children learn better in shorter classes spread out over many days.  It is simply not possible to teach these complex skills to young children in longer, weekly classes.  Each day builds on the previous day and requires the familiarity and trust in their environment to go right into the next skill! 

Will my child cry?

  • Probably at first!  This is normal; please do not be alarmed and prepare for this to likely happen.
  • If your child fusses, focus on the skills they are learning, not the negative behavior.  Try phrases like, "Great kicking!" instead of "It's okay; don't cry!" 
  • A positive attitude from caregivers is very helpful towards overcoming initial fears.  Please be positive when discussing lessons and swimming in front of your child.  Once they are skilled, many students are so happy to swim all by themselves that they cry when it's time to get out of the pool!

What if my child doesn't like the lessons?  Should I stop?

  • Please do not begin our program unless you understand that there will most likely be resistant, "fussy" behavior at first and fully intend to finish.  We do everything we can to make learning to swim an enjoyable experience for your child.  Many children take a few weeks to work through their feelings about the water.  It is a new environment where they are being asked to work very hard without Mom or Dad.  Some amount of resistance is to be expected during the learning process.  Please remember that it is not learning how to swim that's fun, but knowing how to swim that's fun.

What will my child learn in this Survival class?

  • All children will learn to attain and maintain a survival back float from any fall-in situation and wait until help arrives. 
  • Children who can walk well (usually around 15 months and up) will also learn to swim a short distance in between back floats, repeated until they reach a safe location or get out of the pool. 

How long will the program take?

  • 7 weeks, or 21 lessons, 3x/week.  
  • If your child masters the Survival curriculum before the end of the program, their teacher will move on to the next level in our progression.
  • Factors that influence when your child will master a skill/stop fussing/etc include:  Child's age, developmental abilities, child's personality, parent attitude toward lessons (please be prepared to keep it positive!), and child's experiences/skills prior to lessons.

How does my child graduate from this program?

  • To pass Survival, children will complete a simulated drowning scenario with clothes and shoes.  This is because over eighty percent of children who drown are fully clothed.  Clothing and shoes can make it difficult for children to perform their swimming skills, so we make sure they practice under supervision in case the unthinkable happens and they have to do it alone.  After they pass their clothing test, they will begin learning the next level in our progression which focuses on strengthening their swim-float-swim skills and then competitive strokes.

Do you use floaties?  Can I use them?  What about goggles?

  • We do not use any flotation devices in our school and recommend that you do not use them at home.  Flotation devices give children a false sense of security and teach them to swim vertically in the water.  If your child has used one, your lessons may take longer because they must unlearn incorrect postures before we can teach them correct ones.
  • Goggles may be used in maintenance classes but are not allowed in Survival.  A child who falls in unexpectedly will probably not be wearing goggles and must be able to open their eyes and swim without them.