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

ISR is a product of over 50 years of ongoing development in the area of aquatic survival for infants and young 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!

Unlike many traditional swim programs, all of our lessons are private 1:1 and all of our students learn independent swim and survival skills within weeks. Through a consistent yet gentle approach, we teach our students self-rescue and swim skills via sensorimotor learning, much like the way you learn to ride a bike. Because of this, our students' skills are easily maintained with routine maintenance lessons or refresher lessons. 


Why are lessons only 10 minutes long?

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 than 10 minutes and we want to take advantage of the best time for learning. A third reason is that, though the pool temperature is maintained at 82-88 degrees, the temperature is still lower than your child's body temperature. Lessons are work and therefore your child will also be losing body heat. Instructors check students regularly for temperature fatigue since this is an indicator of physical fatigue.

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 differs from 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 lessons. In the combined 15+ years of teaching ISR lessons, we have never experienced a child being fearful of the water as a result of lessons.

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 meet each child where the are at. Some students may take longer than the average of 6 weeks to learn the skills and that is OK!

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

How do 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. With increased competence in the water comes increased confidence. We request that parents stay poolside during the lessons to show your child that you are supportive of their hard work. We will work with you and provide guidance on the best way to support your child while sitting poolside.


What is your stance on flotation devices?

We discourage the use of any flotation device in a pool. Many flotation devices put children in a vertical position, also known as the drowning position. The best thing you can do if you have unskilled swimmers, is get in the pool with them and hold them in the water. 

*You should always use a USCG approved life-jacket when in and around open water such as lakes and oceans. 

Why do you have children swim in clothes?

Because 86% of children who fall in the water do so when 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 prior to an emergency situation, 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.

Do parents participate in the lessons?

Parents do not get in the water during the child's initial learning. We do encourage parents to sit poolside and cheer their child on. Once your child has solidified their skills, parents are often invited to get in with their child for a lesson to learn how to practice their child's new skills.

Will my child need additional lessons once they complete their initial 6 week session?

Yes! ISR is NOT a one and done program. Our children are constantly growing and as a result, their bodies get bigger. Their self-rescue and swim skills need to be "tuned up" and adjusted to their growing bodies on a regular basis to ensure they remain confident in their skills. We generally recommend maintenance lessons 1-2 times per month OR doing a 1-2 week refresher every few months. 

If your child initially learns rollback to float as an infant, you may wish to return for a 4-6 week "Swim-Float-Swim" session once they are nearing 2 years of age or older. Floaters who return to learn to swim are generally MUCH happier as they begin to experience the FUN in swimming!

How can I financially plan for lessons?

ISR lessons are an investment in your child's safety. With drowning being the leading cause of death of children 1-4 years old, it is crucial that we prioritize our children learning self-rescue skills before we even begin to think about gymnastics class, t-ball, etc. 

Though lessons can seem expensive, you will actually end up spending LESS money annually on ISR lessons when compared to a monthly membership at a local swim school. 

There are several ways to plan and budget for the cost of lessons:

1. Ask for money for lessons for birthdays and holidays! We sell gift certificates but you can also just collect funds as gifts and save it for lessons.

2. Put other activities on hold until your child is skilled and save that money to use towards lessons. 

3. Sign up well in advance and make weekly or monthly payments towards your balance to break up the payments over a longer period of time. 

4. If you are in financial need and unable to afford lessons, we partner with several non-profit organizations that provide need-based scholarships for lessons. We never want money to be the reason a child goes without learning self-rescue skills. Please contact your instructor for info on scholarships. 

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