The kids have been taking swim lessons for the past 4 weeks. Actually, they're not lessons so much as survival skills for the water. We're taking them through Infant Swimming Resource (ISR), a great program I was familiar with from living in Florida for so many years growing up.
The main point of ISR is to lessen the amount of child drownings by teaching children as young as 6 months how to survive if they find themselves in the water alone. The lessons teach children over one year of age how to hold their breath under water, swim with their heads down, roll onto their backs to float, rest and breathe, and to roll back over to resume swimming until they can reach the side of the pool. They initially take the lessons in their bathing suits, but once they have mastered the skills they have them wear their clothes to swim so that they can practice swimming while clothed. This simulates a more "real life" experience of falling into a pool while unattended by an adult.
I won't lie, the program is hard core. Your child attends a lesson 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for an average of about 6 weeks. The high frequency of lessons helps the child build upon their skills every day, which aids in his retention of skills.
It has been amazing to watch this program first-hand with my kids. They are all progressing at different rates, which is really exciting to see. There were definitely some tears the first week, but now they all enjoy the lessons and are like little sponges as they absorb all the teaching. They are SO proud of themselves as they acquire and master the new skills. And their instructor is AMAZING. She is so patient with them and has helped them all progress in the water.
Peyton will be our first ISR graduate as of tomorrow! She has mastered all the survival skills and this week she swam with her clothes on (which she found to be quite hilarious) to make sure she could perform in a real life scenario. I'm including a video of her swimming to show what she's learned. The others aren't far behind her and I feel so great that they will all have these great skills once spring and summer roll around again. The nice thing about swimming is that it's like riding a bike, you don't forget how to do it! We'll probably do some refresher lessons in the spring, but they should retain all their skills and be ready to swim once the weather turns warm again!
Please check out ISR if you are looking for swim lessons for your young children. The program is awesome and I feel so confident about their abilities at this point. I was a nervous wreck with four little ones at the pool this past summer, so next year should be easy by comparison!