In exchange for an honest review on this blog, British Swim School of Central MD has provided my family with free swim lessons. All opinions and thoughts are my own. See below for an enrollment special!
One of the reasons I was so drawn to British Swim School over other swim classes, was their attention to safety. As I researched other swim classes, and talked with other moms that had experience with them, I only found one company that had a true focus on safety- and that was British Swim School.
County programs through the rec centers were super affordable, but they seemed to be more of a mommy and me playdate at the young ages- something I wasn’t really wanting to pay for. And other programs just didn’t have the safety first approach.
British Swim School is unique in their approach to the water. From the youngest of ages on up, they require a mastery of safety skills before any further progress can be achieved. I love this. Having a respect for the water is so important. Even the best of swimmers can drown in unfortunate circumstances. Swimming uses energy. Floating is the key to saving your life. This is what British Swim School focuses on at an early age, as a result.
Their initial focuses are on water acclimation and learning how to float. They work with children on being comfortable in the water, and being submerged, while also teaching a respect for the water. We don’t want children to panic if they are submerged. Being in a panicked state could cause someone to drown. Rather, we want them calm, comfortable, and knowing what to do.
So, British Swim School has their students going under the water from their very first class at the Tadpole level. Instructors work with students at individual paces, and make sure they are comfortable and calm. The back float (or starfish) is also introduced immediately. Swim strokes are not taught until a child is comfortable and able to float on their own.
This balance of comfort and respect for the water is something I really appreciate as a mom.
They took it a step further, recently, and I have to say I was very impressed. Twice now, we’ve had swim classes that solely focus on being prepared in an emergency. During these classes, emergency situations are acted out with the children. What better way to prepare for a water emergency, than to have a safe simulation in the pool!? Just as with anything we teach to our children, acting out scenarios can really help our children to understand how to respond in emergencies.
We teach stop, drop, and roll, from an early age. So why not act out water safety?
We were asked to have our children stay in their normal clothes (with swimsuits underneath). Why? Well, in an emergency, it’s likely that it happens in normal clothes. Perhaps a child is running around outside, and slips into the pool. Perhaps, their toy fell in the water, and they decided to reach for it, and fell in. It’s quite possible those things could happen in normal clothes.
Wearing a swimsuit in the water, feels MUCH different than wearing a shirt and pants. Our regular clothes are heavier and harder to move in. I thought it was genius to have our children in their normal clothes, so they could know what this feels like and be prepared if something like this ever happened to them.
During these safety simulation classes, they have the students help one another. One child gets into the water and rolls over to do their starfish (back float) that they’ve been practicing since they started at BSS. The instructor asks them to yell for help.
The other students in the class are asked to find a floating device. They use the life rings during every class and are very comfortable with them. They have them stand up on the pool deck, grab a ring, and throw it to their classmate in the water.
The child in the water, is then shown how to hold on to the ring, and kick to the edge of the pool.
Each child gets to do all parts of the simulation in class. They talk about the lifeguard’s role at the pool, and to always get an adult to help as well. They talk about never getting into a pool alone, never reaching into the water for a toy. They talk about getting to the edge of the pool. They talk about how the safest position in the pool is on your back and floating, and that they need to YELL fpr help if something ever happens.
The class is great.
Caroline has been at the Seahorse level now since August. She’ll be here for a little while longer until she’s ready to move up to the Minnow level. She is not yet 100% on her starfish (back float) being independent, and she is not fully comfortable with her submersions yet. She’s close, but needs more time. And guess what? This Mama is totally fine not teaching her anything else in the water, until she masters those skills!
She is having fun, getting tons of practice in the water on a weekly basis, and getting more and more comfortable every week. Until I know she has mastered the safety skills, there is no reason to be teaching swim strokes. I can’t reiterate enough how pleased I’ve been with this program.
My daughter is learning such valuable skills right now, and there’s no rush. I really appreciate that about BSS. They challenge Caroline, but they don’t push her too hard that she becomes frightened of the water. They have high expectations, yet they make it fun all at the same time. It’s been a great company to work with!
Enrollment Special 20% off
If you live in Montgomery County or Frederick County, Maryland, and are interested in signing up with BSS, I am really excited to announce that you can receive 20%
off your first 4 lessons when you call to enroll and use the code #MAMAS18. The information for our central Maryland British Swim Schools can all be found at this link. And not to worry if you live elsewhere, there are British Swim Schools ALL over the US!
Other Posts of Interest:
British Swim School- Tadpole class (level 1)
British Swim School- An Interview with Caroline’s Instructor (Christine)