Our quest as gentle teachers
Hello all you lovely Birthlight teachers hope you’re having a wonderful year and enjoying your teaching.
I saw something the other day that made me think about a topic for discussion, something that has been bothering me for years but that I have been too timid to address for fear of offending or being controversial.
I saw a man introducing a baby to the water here in Dahab, a holiday resort set in the South Sinai where I now live most of the year. The sun was shining and the water looked inviting but in reality it was 22 degrees. He warmed the baby up with gymnastics, a Russian tradition to help to strengthen baby’s body, then went to the sea and used submersion techniques, which made the baby cry out. A few people were looking on perplexed and some made to feel uncomfortable but no one including myself approached him to question him on this method.
I personally have seen it many times before and know it has a positive flip side.
Children who are taught by this method are certainly stronger in physical appearance and seem to swim very early.
While thinking about this I also thought about the method started in America - where children are taught the ‘forced back float’ method and anyone who has seen this method in action will know that again the child/baby can experience a traumatic time to reach the goal of being able to flip over and float on the back and cry for help until rescued and as they get older can swim to the side of the pool.
If one were to proceed in challenging techniques of different schools of thought, where would one begin? How can this be achieved without pointing fingers and being in anyway aggressive in the process? Or making those parents that change to a more gentle approach feel remorse and guilt over passed allegiances?
Our quest as gentle teachers who have seen babies and little swimmers enjoying the water and swimming early, can get involved by writing positive articles, educational ones, ones that will reach parents and guide them towards the more gentle approach of learning to swim, posting them on social networks and in local papers, by talking at local events on the benefits of a gentle effective birthlight approach to baby swimming.
We know babies are in a world of sensations and what they feel makes them think. Hormones that are released into our babies’ bodies effects them both physically and mentally. The importance of the hormone Oxytocin for example.
The spiral of joy created as we communicate through love to our babies has a big impact on their brain development.
All the latest research now points towards the importance of emotional intelligence and how important it is in shaping us into rounded human beings for example ‘Why love matters’ how we are made to feel as babies, the sensations we feel shapes our brain, Is your glass half empty :-( or half full :-) that well know expression.
We may help parents realize there is a gentle yet effective way of teaching your child to swim without putting their children or themselves through unnecessary torment and actually yield the same results as these other methods.
From my own personal experiences as a tutor, seeing babies relaxed and enjoying the process of learning to swim and knowing that their emotional needs are met while learning a life skill makes me feel proud to be a Birthlight teacher and reaffirms all the methods of teaching I am using.
Birthlight has changed many people’s lives for the better including mine. It has helped parents enjoy their babies to the full with mutual benefits, parents learn to communicate and by their understanding their babies give them a sense of belonging in the world and learn that this world is a safe and happy place to be.
I would love to be able to spread this gentle approach far and wide.
All thoughts, ideas, articles and research related to this topic are very welcome. Please join the 'TalkPoint' discussion on the birthlight forum.
Amanda Gawthrope Birthlight Tutor