8. Little Flippers Safety; Independent & Backwards Fall off Big Mat, Elevators and Drops, Back Float Bridge, Fishies Fall In and Back

Welcome Song in Little Harbor

Why: Buoyancy, Balance and Socialization!


How: Gather in a circle and have parents lengthen their arms to support their student to create the Little Harbor position. This position allows student to explore the feelings of buoyancy and balance with support.  Encourage parents to support as low in the water as possible so the student can learn to stabilize their position (parents may need to bend their knees slightly to achieve this). Parents and students are also free to splash their hands while singing along.  This reminds the parents, infants and toddlers that the water is everywhere and helps to acclimate them to that sensation. 

Song Lyrics: _______is here today __________is here today _________ let’s all splash the water __________ is here today!

Independent Fall off the Big Mat 

Why: To gain comfort with breath control, buoyancy and balance.

How: Have parents place the child on the big mat and then take a couple steps back. Remind parents to cue their child before they gently fall off independently in the water.  Encourage parents to allow their child to submerge before picking them back up.   return to the big mat and try it again!

FOR MORE ADVANCED STUDENTS; Encourage parents to submerge their child completely or to allow the to fall into the water independently, even to roll over for a back float after entering the water.  When back at the big mat, encourage parents to allow students to climb back up (elbow, elbow, belly, knee).

Backwards Fall off the Big Mat 

Why: To gain comfort with breath control, buoyancy and balance.

How: Have parents support their child under the arms while facing away from them seated on the big mat.  Remind parents to cue their child before they gently fall backward.  They also my gently submerge if desired.  Once in the pool they can remain on their backs in a float and / or return to the big mat and try it again!

Elevators and Drops with Parent

Why: Breath control, Buoyancy and Balance and Safety!

How: Have the parent support their child under the arms and remind parents to cue their child before gently submerging.  Encourage parents turn the child toward them and allow a few seconds for them to feel their own buoyancy and balance as they float back to the surface. We are reinforcing the concept of buoyancy and balance as it relates to a student resurfacing after submerging and adding in the concept of an under water turn back to safety (the parent).

For more advanced students, try positioning parents along a wall so that the swimmer can float up and grab an edge!

Back Float Under the Bridge

Why: To gain comfort with buoyancy and balance on the back.

How: Assist parents with supporting their children on their backs in the cheek-to-cheek position. Have them travel backward under the tunnel for several rounds to help students relax on their backs.

Fishes in the Ocean (Fall In and Fall Back)


Why: To gain comfort with breath control and practice the safety skill of an unexpected fall into the pool!

How:  For the backwards fall, support the students while seated at pool edge facing away.  Sing the song and fall in on cue. Student may remain in a back float and / or submerge!  For the drop in, position yourself on the deck either seated, kneeling or standing. Position parents in front ready to catch thier student.  Gently drop the student into the water or directly to the parent.  Finish the skill by encouraging the parent to turn the child toward the wall and assist with climbing out.

Wheels on the Bus

Why: To end each class on a happy note!

How: Gather students and parents into a circle and pass out a small floating bus toy to each student. Ask the parents to match their actions to the lyrics of the song.

Song Lyrics:  The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheel on the bus go round and round all through the pool! Repeat with the following lyrics:

        • Windows go up and down!
        • Wipers go Swish, Swish, Swish!
        • Doors go open and shut.
        • Horn goes beep, beep beep.
        • Babies Wave Bye Bye.