Every Expert was once a beginner. 

The ISR program: Lesson structure

The Survival Sequence: What will my child learn?

ROLL BACK TO FLOAT METHOD: 6 months old - walking

At this age, the safest possible option for a child if they were to enter a body of water alone would be to roll over onto their back and float and to remain floating until help arrives. This position is the safest and easiest for a baby, and can be effortlessly maintained for long intervals once mastered.

I will start by gently introducing your child to the water and to myself. I will work with your child to guide him/her through the lesson process and  build a level of trust and comfort with him/her in the water. Once this is established, your child will begin to learn how to Self-Rescue. 

A child 6 months to walking will learn:

  • To hold their breath underwater  **we will not move forward in lessons until your child is effectively holding their breath. Any program that encourages vomiting is unsafe!**
  • To right themselves onto their back and into a float from any entry into the water (head-first, face-first, back first, feet first)
  • To float unassisted, resting and breathing until help arrives - adjusting float as necessary
  • To perform these ISR Self-Rescue skills first in a swimsuit, then while fully clothed in a diaper

Swim/float/swim method: Walking - 6 years

You've seen it before - your toddler walks right to the edge of the pool, ready to jump in, whether or not you are there to catch him/her. His/her confidence level is far beyond his/her competence level. With ISR training, your child will be able to swim independently and learn to move at his/her own pace toward the safety of the side of the pool or the shores of a pond or lake.

I will work with your little one's individual learning style to help him/her gain both competence and confidence in and around the water. ISR is passionate about water safety and will not make your child over-confident or fearless, but will educate him/her and teach them a healthy respect for the water while giving him/her the skills necessary to survive a drowning scenario. 

A Child who is walking - 6 years learn:

  • To hold their breath underwater **we will not move forward in lessons until your child is effectively holding their breath. Any program that encourages vomiting is unsafe!**
  • Swim with their head down
  • Roll onto their back to float, rest, and breathe
  • Roll back over to resume swimming and repeat this swim-float-swim sequence until they reach the side of the pool. They are also taught to remain in their back float and wait for help if they are unable to attain an edge or get themselves out. 
  • To perform these ISR Self-Rescue skills first in a swimsuit, then while fully clothed

What's next?: Maintaining life saving skills

Swimming is a sensori-motor skill, just like learning how to crawl, walk or ride a bike..Once your child's body has been taught the ISR self-rescue sequence, they will not forget it! However, just like any other sensori-motor skill, the less it is practiced the rustier it gets. Practice makes perfect, and I have two options for continuing lessons with your little one.

MAINTENANCE LESSONS - one lesson per week or one lesson every other week
After completion of the ISR program, you may see behaviors in your child's swimming at home that are not consistent with what your child was doing during lessons. This is a natural progression for your child. As your little one becomes more comfortable and confident in the water, they will begin to experiment and explore the aquatic environment. It is important to know that this does not mean that your child has "forgotten" the skills learned during ISR lessons. However, it may be necessary to schedule a Maintenance Lesson.

Maintenance Lessons are designed to fine-tune your child's skills or to prevent problems from developing in your child's technique. A few months after completion of ISR lessons, your child may develop unwanted habits out of regular play time in the pool. For example, your child may begin to swim farther without rolling over for breath or may try swimming with her head out of water. Some habits formed from normal exploration in the water may begin to affect your child's ability to swim and float. Maintenance lessons keep skills sharp and allow children to grow their skills with their ever growing bodies!

REFRESHER LESSONS - semi-annually to annually
ISR recommends that all students, especially between the ages of 12 months and 4 years, return to an ISR Instructor once a year for Refresher Lessons. Refresher lessons usually last about half of the time it took the child to become fully skilled the first season.

Children grow physically, emotionally, and mentally very quickly in the first six years of their lives. Their center of gravity will change as their limbs become longer and their concept of water changes as their brains become more advanced.

Refresher Lessons help children assimilate their new bodies and minds to the skills they previously learned so they can continue to swim safely and effectively. It is important to remember that your child does not "forget" the skills acquired with ISR. However, most children are not regularly in the water in the winter and during this extended period of time your child will mature mentally and physically. Refresher Lessons are designed to help your child adjust his/her swim and float to his/her new more mature body and mind and to reinforce his/her confidence in the water.