Learn-to-Swim Level 1—Introduction to Water Skills

Welcome to American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim Level 1!

Congratulations! You have started your child on a journey to learn how to be safe in, on and around the water and to swim well. American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim is

made up of six levels of swimming and water safety instruction.

As participants progress through the levels and develop these skills, they become safer and better swimmers.

We’re proud to offer you:

Professional instructors who are well trained by the American Red Cross.

Learning made fun in a safe environment.

A balanced program that teaches swimming skills and how to be safe in the water, including a focus on lowering the risk of drowning and increasing the chances of drowning survival.

A comprehensive swimming and water safety program for everyone in the family—from infancy to adulthood including:

A free Red Cross Swim mobile application available for download from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace app stores.

Swim Lessons Achievement Booklets to track skill achievement and progression through the levels.

Badge system to recognize and reward achievement outside of the levels, motivating participants to strive toward developing specific skills and for recognizing participants for something that they are doing well, especially when they are struggling with a specific skill or set of skills needed to successfully complete the level.

What happens in Learn-to-Swim Level 1?

For every level of Learn-to-Swim, our instructors follow a plan to introduce new swimming and water safety skills and build on previously learned skills. Each class is loaded with fun, engaging and challenging activities that motivate children to want to perform and learn to swim.

In Level 1—Introduction to Water Skills, your child is intro- duced to basic skills as the foundation for future skills and the development of water competency (the basic minimum

PA R E N T ’ S C O R N E R

How can you help?

Always maintain constant supervision of your child and stay within in arm’s reach of nonswimmers.

Bring a light snack and drink for your child. Kids are often hungry after a lesson.

Ask the instructor which skills your child should practice, and then make practicing fun at home or your local pool!

Remember, children develop swimming skills at different rates. Offer praise and encouragement at each lesson. Encourage your child to enjoy swim lessons and take pride in personal success.

How can you build on your child’s swimming experience?

Talk about what your child has learned in the lesson to develop safe practices for the home and other aquatic environments such as lakes, rivers and waterparks.

Encourage your child, when at play, to try the skills he or she is learning in lessons.

Download the Red Cross Swim mobile application as soon as you enter your child in the swim lesson program and use it to help reinforce what your child is learning, and use it to help encourage your child’s progress and knowledge about water safety.

skills needed for water safety). Certain milestones are nec- essary for successful completion of Level 1, including:

Entering the water independently using the ramp, steps or side.

Traveling at least 5 yards, bobbing 5 times and then safely exiting the water.

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Opening eyes underwater and retrieving submerged object.

Gliding on front with assistance at least 2 body lengths.

Rolling to a back float for 5 seconds with assistance.

Recovering to a vertical position with assistance.

Combined arm and leg actions on front and back with assistance.

Alternating and simultaneous arm and leg actions on front and back with assistance.

It is common for children to participate in several sessions of Level 1 before they successfully demon- strate each skill. That is okay! It is not important how quickly they move through a level, but that they acquire each skill.

How are Learn-to-Swim Level 1 participants evaluated?

Instructors follow a plan that details the skills to be intro- duced at each level along with performance expectations. Your child’s progress and skill achievement are continu- ously monitored and evaluated. Once all Level 1 skills are achieved and the exit skills assessment is completed, your child receives a completion card and they are ready to move on to Level 2!

Take some time throughout the session to talk with your child’s instructor to find out how your child is doing. At the end of the session, your instructor will date, sign and pro- vide comments on your child’s Swim Lessons Achievement Booklet. Once your child has successfully completed all of

the requirements for a level, there is another space for the instructor to indicate that your child is ready to enroll in the next level.

Where do swimmers go after Level 1?

Swimmers move through the six levels of the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program as they master the skills required at each level. After successfully completing Level 1, children are ready to move on to Level 2—Fundamental Aquatic Skills. Participants in Level 2:

Learn to float face-down and on the back independently.

Learn to recover to a vertical position independently.

Further develop simultaneous and alternating arm and leg actions for swimming on the front and back as the foundation for future stroke development and water competency.


Know how to recognize an emergency. Emergen- cies can happen to anyone at any time. Sometimes a person who is in trouble cannot call for help; that is why you should tell the lifeguard or an adult right away if you think someone is in trouble.

Stay safe around water. Pool decks are for walking only, no run- ning or other horseplay. They are very slippery and you could fall. Al- ways follow the rules.

Know how to call for help. When you call

9-1-1 or the local emer- gency number, tell the person who answers the phone what happened. Do not hang up. The person who answers the phone might be able to tell you how you can help. Stay on the phone until the person tells you it is all right to hang up.

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