We went Czech!
It was with great pleasure that we attended the Infant Aquatic conference held in Třinec, in the Far Eastern corner of the Czech Republic, between the 3-5 October 2014, as Birthlight representatives and conference lecturer.
The founder Eva Kiedroňová and her fantastic team opened the conference, which was titled 'The meaning and methods in swimming for infant and toddlers in individual countries'. It was organised by CAIPA which stands for the Czech association of instructors of psychomotor activities for infant, toddlers and preschoolers .
This provided a platform for discussion, introduction to different methods, time to reconnect with friends, make new ones and share with colleagues alike. We were privileged to be the first to present on our chosen subject 'The science of water parenting with an open heart' and we are pleased to say that it was very well received as it touched the hearts of the attendees and fellow lecturers alike.
The science of love, buoyancy, balance and movement is an area that birthlight has much to share with our fellow instructors.
We found a kindred birthlight spirit in the representative from Mexico, Beatriz Esesarte, who spoke so beautifully on the role of the instructor as a cultural transmitter and facilitator of the learning process. Her work is also based on a lifetime of research and we look forward to reconnecting with her in the future.
Even among those of very different philosophy and methodology, we found common ground in our love for the babies and parents in the aquatic environment.
The funniest but very in depth presentation was given by a long time friend of birthlight, Terje Stakset, on 'what makes an instructor a great instructor', with many deep one liners, such as 'communicate in the water, not under the water' and 'communicate with the water'.
In true birthlight style, we had many unexpected events, a welcome at the airport by Richard dressed in his beautiful folklore clothes, a bright orange deco bedroom, and Sylvie having to go behind the scenes to become part of the translating team as support and back up, as the lectures were being simultaneously translated into Czech, Polish, English, German and Spanish. It was quite a set up!
A special mention goes to Nikolas Chatzigiakoumis and his family, a fellow birthlight teacher, who took a road trip, all the way from Greece!
We have come away with so many ideas for the Birthlight 2016 aquatic conference (22-23 September 2016 at Girton College, Cambridge), and hoping that so many of the friends we have made from across the world, will be able to join us.
We would like to thank CAIPA, and especially Barbara Kiedroń and Veronika Motiková, for her full attention to our well being and also for the wonderful insight into the rich and diverse culture of Třinec and the surrounding area.
We truly had a wonderful and productive time sharing the birthlight philosophy with participants from all over the world and we look forward to many more fruitful and beautiful dialogues like this in the future.
Děkuji! Thank you!
Sylvie Russell & Shawn Tomlinson