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What qualifications does a Certified ISR Instructor have?

Every Certified Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) Instructor worldwide completes an 8-week intensive academic and in-water training and certification program with a minimum of 80 hours of in-water time with a Certified Master Instructor. All instructors must have current CPR and First Aid certification. Once certified, ISR Instructors must undergo annual recertification and are recognized as highly skilled, precise aquatic behavior specialists who understand the unique cognitive, intellectual and physical development dynamics of young children. Understanding the behaviors of children in the water allows each Instructor to respond with ISR’s proprietary technique.


What is ISR and how is it different from other swimming programs?

ISR is the product of more than 50 years of ongoing development in the area of aquatic survival instruction for infants and children. ISR's primary focus is to teach your child to become a productive swimmer or floater in any depth of water. The goal of ISR is that your child becomes an "aquatic problem solver." ISR will greatly increase your child's chance of surviving an aquatic accident, even when fully clothed!


I hear you say your priority is survival skills. Will my child learn to actually swim?

Yes. At ISR, we believe that part of survival for a child who can walk is swimming. Children learn the swim-float-swim sequence so that they could get themselves to safety. The difference in our program is that they will learn swimming AND survival skills and how to be an aquatic problem solver.


Are swimming lessons for infants and young children safe?

YES! ISR is dedicated to safety and maintaining numerous safety protocols to promote safe lessons. Your child's health and well-being are our highest priority and are closely monitored daily. Also, your child's medical and developmental history is a mandatory part of the ISR national registration process, all of which are held strictly confidential. All ISR instructors undergo intensive and rigorous training that far exceeds any other training program of this kind. Each ISR Instructor is also required to attend a yearly re-certification symposium that includes quality control as well as continuing education. Your education in the area of aquatic safety for your entire family is an integral part of your child's lessons. You will receive access to the "Parent Resource Guide", written by Dr. Harvey Barnett and JoAnn Barnett, which will inform you of every aspect of swimming for infants and children. With research, you will find that ISR is the safest survival skills training program but also the most effective for teaching infants and young children.


about lessons

Why are lessons 5 days per week and for only 10 minutes?

The reason for this is multifaceted. First, repetition and consistency are crucial elements of learning for young children. Research shows that short, more frequent lessons result in higher retention. Second, most children have fairly short attention spans and will not be able to focus on the task for longer and we want to take advantage of the best time for learning. A third reason is that, though the pool temperature is maintained at 78-88 degrees, the temperature is still lower than your child's body temperature. Lessons are work and therefore will also be losing body heat. Instructors check students regularly for temperature fatigue since this is an indicator of physical fatigue.


Why does it take 6-8 weeks for my child to learn the Infant Swimming Resource Self-Rescue Program?

The 6-8 weeks is an estimate based on the average time in which it takes most children to learn these survival skills. Every child is unique and ISR’s Self-Rescue program is specifically designed based on your child’s specific strengths and needs. It is important to realize that this is an average which means that some children will finish more quickly while others will need more practice. ISR is dedicated to safety and, therefore, we want to provide your child with the appropriate time and best opportunity to become proficient in his/her survival skills. We will always honor your child’s needs.


What is the retention rate with ISR lessons?

ISR claims a retention rate of 94-100% up to one year following lessons. Having said this, children will explore and may pick up bad habits watching other children or with interference like floating in a bathtub or playing on the steps. As your child goes through lessons, you will begin to understand, through communication with your Instructor, what activities may interfere with his/her learned Self-Rescue skills. Contacting and/or returning to your instructor promptly is imperative to maintaining effective habits.


Why do you have the children swim in clothes?

Because 86% of children, who fall in the water, do so fully clothed, we want our students to have experience with such a situation. If a child has experienced the sensations of being in the water in clothing before an emergency, he/she is less likely to experience panic and be able to focus on the task at hand. If you have ever jumped in the water with clothes on, then you know that there is a significant difference in weight and feel with clothes as opposed to a bathing suit.

Swimming in clothes is part of ISR’s check out procedures, which a student completes near the end of his/her session when his/her skills are fully shaped.


Will my child fear the water because of lessons?

There is an important difference between being fearful and being apprehensive because you are not yet skilled in a new environment. ISR is not like traditional swim lessons; it is a drowning prevention program that teaches survival swimming. Sometimes as a parent, you make choices for your child’s safety, like sitting in a car seat, because you know they are important. The same can be said for ISR. Fun can be defined as when skill meets challenge. Once competent in their skills, many children cannot be dragged away from the pool. They are having entirely too much FUN.


Do you have children that just can’t learn the skills?

No. Every child can learn. It is the Instructor’s job to find the best way to communicate the information so that it makes sense to the child. We set your child up to be successful every time. We start where they are.


How can you teach babies and young children to swim?

ISR instructors teach infants to swim by honoring each child's individual strengths and experiences. They understand the fundamentals of the behavioral sciences, child development and of sensorimotor learning as it relates to the acquisition of aquatic survival skills; they use this education to guide each child through the sequence of learning to swim and float.


Can you teach a child who is not verbal how to swim?

Yes. Consider that children learn to sit, crawl and walk before they learn to speak. Because we teach through sensorimotor learning, verbal skills are not required for a child to acquire Self- Rescue skills. We can communicate with our students through touch and positive reinforcement while striving to set our students up for success every step of the way.


How do you teach them to hold their breath?

Breath-holding skills are taught in the first lesson. We shape breath control using highly effective positive reinforcement techniques. We continue to reinforce these breath-holding techniques throughout every lesson.


Will my child need additional lessons?

Based on our research, we know that refresher lessons are important because children change so much both cognitively and physically during the first 4-5 years of life. Their water survival skills must grow with their bodies.

Frequency depends on the child's age, growth rate, skill level and confidence level. The goal of refresher lessons is to help your child adjust his/her new body size and weight to his/her existing skill level. Your instructor will work with your child to help fine-tune his or her aquatic experience to assist with building efficiency, which will result in self-confidence. This is especially important if your child has not been able to practice any appropriate aquatic skills between seasons.


Why don't parents participate in the water during the lessons?

We do not want the baby to initially associate the water with the love, attention and affection of the parent while in the water. Also, it takes incredible concentration and objectivity to teach the baby how to respond to an aquatic emergency and our research shows that parents often find it too difficult to be objective to be effective teachers with their children in the water. We do teach parents how to swim with their children in parent lessons once their children have stable skills to practice. 


How do the kids react during the first few lessons?

Children often fuss during the first few lessons because they are in a new environment and around new people. As your child becomes more confident in his/her ability in the water, the fussing will decrease. It is not unlike the first time you tried a new exercise class or were asked to perform a task at work that you'd never done before: the first time you try a new task it is always challenging until you get the hang of it. It is the same for your young child. Your child is learning to perform a skill that he/she's never done before.

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