BIRTHLIGHT BABY SWIMMING

Birthlight Baby Swimming Area consists of courses: “Baby Swimming Teacher Certification (Parts 1&2)” and “Aquatic Nurture for Newborns” (Short Course / CPD). Additionally, “Foundations of Swimming for Toddlers”, “Aquatic Nuture for Newborns”, “Baby-led Submersions”, and “Swimming for Babies/Toddlers with Special and Additional Needs” are considered short courses/cpd’s.

OVERVIEW 

In ways that remain unique, Birthlight combines interactive enjoyment in water and foundations of unaided swimming for infants aged two months to 4 years with their parents. Submersion is not taught as a specific element of baby swimming but through techniques of minimal support of babies. Very gentle moves in the early “in arms” phase are conducive to each baby’s discovery of their water balance. This baby-led and water-led approach involves a process of unlearning by parents that is both challenging and rewarding. We call it ‘Water Parenting’.

HISTORY

Birthlight’s gentle yet dynamic approach to baby swimming are inspired from Amazonian forest people with whom Françoise Freedman, who had been a competitive swimmer in her teens and later lived as an anthropologist amongst these people. Their carefree way to impart water confidence to small children motivated Françoise to seek an alternative to Western-style swimming classes. After leading her four children and many others to swim early, her method attracted media attention and friendships with other pioneers of baby swimming worldwide. Françoise’s book ‘Water Babies’ (Anness 1999) is now in its 6th edition. She received the prestigious Virginia Hunt Award in 2009  (World Aquatic Babies Congress) Birthlight courses have been developed with contributions from several outstanding Birthlight Training Tutors, past and present, and they continue to evolve to respond to world trends and emerging research.

Birthlight has had a close association with STA (Swimming Teachers Association) since 2003.

Please click the “+” symbol below to open a window with more information or click the “-” symbol to close the window and reveal all subsections of information.

Baby Swimming Teacher Certification (Parts 1&2)

COURSE OUTLINE

This course imparts Birthlight’s original baby swimming practices backed up by clear rationales. Part 1 relates to babies aged 2 months to 10-12 months (variable). Part 2 expands practices taught in Part 1 for babies in their second year (12-24 months), with additional resources for beginner toddlers. The aim is to equip participants to teach parent-baby pairs (including non-swimming parents) with proficiency and confidence.

PART 1 

Course contents include:

  • How to empower parents to let the water support their babies: parent immersion and use of the properties of water for baby swimming
  • A repertoire of 6 ‘relaxed holds’ allowing parent-baby communication and well supported gentle movements in water from a stable stance (demonstrations with dolls)
  • ‘Relaxed baby floats’ progressing from ‘cradle float’ in arms to floating with hand support
  • Rhythmical sequencing of mini-moves, rapid and slow, that support babies’ integration of primitive reflexes in the first year 
  • Use of water noodles to support parents in ‘front rides’, floating on their backs with their babies on board
  • Common ‘baby cues’ through which babies communicate their readiness or resistance to specific water practices and resources to help parents respond appropriately
  • Playful techniques to gradually detach babies from parents’ bodies 
  • ‘Mirroring practices’ to familiarise parents with babies’ sensory integration in water including joint preparation for submersion
  • Fundamentals of research on how babies learn and build memories (applied to baby swimming)
  • Practical resources to support different parents and babies individually and in groups

You will also learn:

  • How to prepare class materials with options to change plans if needed
  • How to engage parents in observations and ‘learning from their babies’

PART 2 

  • Fluid transitions between ‘relaxed holds’ to encourage babies’ self-propulsion
  • How to teach a set of upright practices to encourage rotation as a foundation of swimming
  • Model circuits including rafts, wall bar and/or pool steps to gradually ‘widen the gap’
  • in jumps
  • Use of props to promote ‘water body balance’
  • Fundamentals of anatomy of physiology for the second year relevant to motor skills in water
  • ‘Learning plateaus’ and activities to sustain parents’ interest
  • How to promote enjoyable spontaneous submersions 
  • Integration of beginner toddlers in mixed groups: patterns of progression, techniques to promote parents’ relaxed handling of tentative toddlers
  • Water safety skills for the second year
  • First transitions to unaided swimming

You will also learn:

  • How to chart progressions of babies/toddlers in the water 

WHO CAN ATTEND THIS COURSE? 

  • Baby swimming teachers who wish to expand their techniques
  • Qualified swimming teachers 
  • Birthlight’s ‘mother’s route to baby swimming qualification’ for swimmers who have experience with babies

Notes. A CPR qualification is highly recommended. Life Saving skills are required for those planning to work in pools without a lifeguard on poolside. Birthlight recommends the STA Safety Award for Teachers (first aid, lifesaving skills, CPR including infant CPR).

For those outside the UK, compliance with local regulations for lifeguarding and lifesaving qualifications should be adhered to.

FORMAT AND DURATION 

The course is available in 3 formats:

Classic Blended (face-to-face)

5 Days
Part 1: 3 Days (5 pool sessions)
Part 2: 2 days (3 pool sessions + assessment)

Combined Livestream & Classic Blended

Part 1: Livestream tutoring + home study
Part 2: 2 days face-to-face (4 pool sessions)

Livestream CoursePart 1: Livestream tutoring and e-learning + home study + review of practice

These courses consists of face-to-face and/or livestream contact hours plus an online learning component (thus the term “blended”). Upon purchase participants receive access to this online learning component (e.g. online reading, quizzes, etc). There you will find our exclusive course materials developed through years of teaching experience by the Birthlight tutor team. We have more explanation on course format in the FAQ’s.  

As much as possible our live-streamed tutoring will be GMT scheduled for possible morning access to course participants in America, Asia and Australia.

There is scope to record the training sessions to allow each student to access them when they can get to a pool or when convenient for them. 

Study materials include:

  • A comprehensive Baby Swimming Manual given at the start of the course
  • Explainer videos
  • Practice and Class recordings for teaching purposes 
  • Printable handouts
  • Example lesson plans
  • Substantial online resources (including access to streaming relevant chapters from the Birthlight Water Parenting DVD)

 All live stream classes are followed by breakout rooms, discussion and tutor-supervised practical assignments (individual or in pairs). Participants’ exchanges are encouraged between course parts through What’s App or Wechat). Tutor support is available to course participants while completing their assignments.

Our online training modalities are fully recognised by Birthlight insurers, BGi. 

ASSESSMENT 

This course is assessed with theory quizzes and practicals throughout the course. To gain your certification you will need to submit a documented case-study of four teaching sessions (templates are provided) and a recorded video (10 minutes) of your teaching as specified by the course tutor.  

QUALIFICATION

On successful completion of Parts 1 & 2 practical assessments and online reading and tasks, course participants will obtain the Birthlight Baby Swimming Certified Teacher qualification. The Birthlight qualification is well recognised worldwide for its stringent quality standards.

After two years of teaching, Birthlight Baby Swimming Certified Teachers qualify to take the STA Level 3 Diploma course in Parent-Child swimming. 

WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THE COURSE

I really liked practice sessions with real mums or dads and babies.  Some practical questions which came up to my mind in real teaching experience were clearly presented in theory or discussion faze. I really enjoyed the dynamic flow of 5 days.  All the trainees showed improvement and we could learn from each other.   It took some days for me to get used to getting into & out of the water, but lunch break gave me a nice change.  

Even though I was not from a swimming background, the course was informative from a parenting perspective.  There was a lot of personal discovery as with other Birthlight trainings!

Rumi (Japan) Baby Swimming course 1&2 Singapore 2020

A wonderful course aimed at promoting wellbeing for children as they embark on their swimming journey

Rosanna Mahmood-Bishop, BS1 Cambridge, February 2020

Further Study

Further training: CPD and stand-alone courses that double as CPD’s.

 Short CourseCPD
Foundations of Swimming for Toddlers (2-4yrs)**
Swimming for babies/toddlers with special and additional needs**
Aquatic Nurture for Newborns**
Baby-led submersions *

Aquatic Nurture for Newborns (Short Course / CPD)

This course equips baby swimming teachers with plentiful resources to help parents introduce their babies to water at home in baby baths or home tubs. A gentle progression facilitates the early start of baby swimming in warm pools at two months. The first day of the course is open as a stand alone CPD for midwives, doulas and nursery nurses interested in supporting parents to give their babies stress free and happy bathing experiences and to facilitate parent-baby bonding through baths.

COURSE OUTLINE

Day 1 Course contents include:
  •  Fundamentals on the sensory world of newborns
  •  Newborns’cues and how to teach parents to read and respond to them
  •  ‘Relaxed Holds’ in preparation for baby baths
  •  Techniques to support newborns in baths
  •  Parent-baby communication during the bath
  •  Swaddled baths
  •  The art of ‘water pouring’ and ‘finger splashing’
  •  Progression of gentle bath moves for newborns
  •  Timings for newborns’ baths
  •  Wrap, dry, skin to skin, feeding and massage after newborns’ baths
  •  Different scenarios and related resources
You will also learn
  • How to present the benefits of joyful first baths to parents
  • How to set up Aquatic Nurture sessions for new parents at their homes
Day 2
  •  Fundamentals of infant reflexes and early motor development
  •  Criteria for facilitating the transition from home bath to warm pool
  •  Entries and exits in different pools
  •  Parents’ relaxed stance in water
  •  Holding and handling young babies in the pool
  •  Theory and practice of parent-infant communication in water
  •  First gentle baby swimming moves for parents with babies 2-4 months
  •  Cues indicating enjoyment or stress
  •  Understanding the gag reflex and the risks of swallowing water
  •  Floating relaxation with young babies on board (using water noodle support)
  •  Wrap & dry and massage after pool session
You will also learn:
  • How to address parents’ excitement and/or fear
  • How to support parent-baby communication and bonding in the pool
  • How to structure short but activity-rich sessions for parent-baby pairs

FORMAT AND DURATION

Each of the two days that make up this short course is available in 2 formats:
Format Duration
Classic Blended  (face to face) 1day + 1day Day 1: theory sessions + two bath practices Day 2: theory sessions _ two pool practices
Livestream Blended Day 1&2: Livestream tutoring and e-learning + home study + review of practice
These courses consists of face-to-face and/or livestream contact hours plus an online learning component (thus the term “blended”). Upon purchase participants receive access to this online learning component (e.g. online reading, quizzes, etc). There you will find our exclusive course materials developed through years of teaching experience by the Birthlight tutor team. We have more explanation on course format in the FAQ’s. As much as possible our live-streamed tutoring will be GMT scheduled for possible morning access to course participants in America, Asia and Australia. There is scope to record the training sessions to allow each student to access them when they can get to a pool or when convenient for them. Study materials include:
  • A comprehensive Aquatic Nurture for Newborns Manual given at the start of the course
  • Explainer videos
  • Practice and Class recordings for teaching purposes
  • Printable handouts
  • Example lesson plans
All live stream classes are followed by breakout rooms, discussion and tutor-supervised practical assignments (individual or in pairs). Participants’ exchanges are encouraged between course parts through What’s App or Wechat). Tutor support is available to course participants while completing their assignments. Our online training modalities are fully recognised by Birthlight insurers, BGi.

ASSESSMENT

This course is assessed with theory quizzes and practicals throughout the course. To gain your certification you will need to submit a recorded video (10 minutes) of your teaching as specified by the course tutor.

QUALIFICATION

On successful completion of Days 1 & 2 and assignments, participants will receive the Birthlight Aquatic Nurture for Newborns teacher certification. On completion of Day 1, participants will receive a CPD certificate (Aquatic Nurture for Newborns, Joyful First Baths). The CPD confers 12 points. On completion of Day 2, participants will receive a CPD certificate (Aquatic Nurture for Newborns, Transition from Bath to Pool). The CPD confers 12 points