Questions Laurie is asked about Swimming

1. How long have you been teaching swimming for?

Laurie started his swim school in North Queensland in 1966.


2. What methods of swim teaching do you use to teach toddlers?

Laurie’s methods have developed over 40 years. He believes that learn to swim should follow a progressive teaching and learning approach. He follows the simple learn to swim principals of water familiarisation, breath control, submersion, floating, propulsion, breathing. Water safety should underpin all the learn to swim principals. A child’s readiness will determine the introduction of the progressive teaching skill.


3. Where did you find the methods you use to teach swimming to toddlers?

Laurie’s methods came about from visiting national and international best practice swimming programs. He video documented his own children learning to swim as well as his grandchildren. This enabled him to see how children’s physical and cognitive growth and development impacts the swimming lesson. Today Laurie has a specific curriculum that correlates to children’s growth and development. However all children are individuals and should be encouraged to progress at their own speed and readiness. Laurie believe in continual education and learning and still attends national and international swimming conferences.


4. What is the importance of toddlers being able to swim?

Learning to swim has the obvious benefit of teaching children water safety for drowning prevention. However learning to swim also builds child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual capital. Swim for fun, fitness, health and safety. There is a study on the benefits of early years swimming.


5. Should parents be in the water with their child whilst the child is learning to swim? Why/Why not?

Laurie believe in parental involvement in the swimming lesson until children turn 4. Parental involvement promotes maximum practice time and maximum results. There is no time wasted and children get a full 30 minutes lessons. Parental involvement also creates a safe and secure learning environment and children learn that they must always swim with their caregiver. Parents also become educated on swimming and water safety skills so that they can take their children to experiences outside of the formal learn to swim lesson. Swimming lessons provided the perfect opportunity for bonding between parent and child, with no outside distractions with household chores or work commitments.


6. Should toddlers learn to swim in a pool or the ocean? Why or why not?

The learn to swim environment will be determined by what families have access to. Some people may not have access to a heated, indoor teaching facility. The learn to swim progressions will always be the same however there will be environmental factors that will need considering if taking children to the beach. Generally children will feel more secure in still, calm water during the early learning stages. Caregivers need to read signage at the beach to ensure that it is safe to swim.


7. Do you think toddlers should wear floatation devices when learning to swim? Why/why not.

Floating is the basis of all learn to swim. Therefore Laurie doesn’t recommend floatation devices like arm bands or back bubbles be used in formal learn to swim lessons. Laurie will use objects like kickboards, pullbuoys or noodles during swimming lessons. There will be instances where PFDs will be required. Personal floatation devices that meet Australian standards may be useful when supervising multiple children. Furthermore PFDs will also be required in recreation activities like boating and fishing.


8. What should toddlers be learning in swimming lessons?

Toddlers will learn vital swimming and water safety skills during swimming lessons. However they will also learn social skills and skills that develop readiness for school.


9. What certificates or qualifications do you currently hold to teach swimming?

In Australia swimming teachers should hold formal qualifications with for example AUSTSWIM, the Australian Swimming Teachers of Coaches Association, or Royal Life Saving. Swimming teachers are also required to hold a current CPR certificate and hold a working with children check. Laurie has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Laurie is an Honorary Doctorate with Griffith University. Laurie holds a Platinum Coach accreditation with ASCTA.


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Emma Lawrence

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