In accordance with this philosophy, we strongly believe that forced submersions (also known as dunking) do not have a place in our curriculum. Whilst our policy is generally considered industry best practice, some swim schools continue to teach through forced submersions resulting in students developing a long-term fear of swimming.
Two of Australia’s leading bodies on learn to swim, ASCTA and Swim Australia, have recently released a Position Statement on Submersions. We are affiliated with both ASCTA and Swim Australia and are pleased to see that their position statement reflects what we have been teaching for years.
ASCTA and Swim Australia “places the willingness and acceptance of the baby or toddler at the forefront of its submersion policy.” As evident here at Col Jones Swim School Hurstville, forcing any student’s (from baby all the way through to adults) head under the water is not practiced by our teachers. In fact, “submersion practices which are carried out on a baby or toddler without their obvious willingness is likened to enforced behaviour and is not ethically acceptable.”
Instead, here at Col Jones Swim School Hurstville, we work to each student’s pace. We familiarise our youngest students in our baby and toddler classes with getting their faces wet in a fun environment using toys, songs and cueing. Our older students are taught to blow bubbles correctly at their own pace alongside learning other skills such as kicking and floating. We find this gradual method to be successful for students of all ages to confidently and independently submerge their faces under water. There is a real sense of achievement when a student learns to put their face under the water on their own terms.
Learning to swim is a skill for life and we are committed to developing students who feel confident, safer and supported in the water.
Author: Josephine Moss (Swim School Coordinator)