Rachel McNeil, Red Cross certified WSI, 8 yrs teaching experience
Claire Lakvold, Red Cross certified WSI, 3 yrs teaching experience
Olivia Hill, 4 yrs teaching experience
Meet our team!
Hadley Guidry, Red Cross certified WSI, certified lifeguard, 6 yrs teaching & coaching experience
Grace Foil, Red Cross certified WSI, certified lifeguard, 6 yrs teaching & coaching experience
Hannah Littlefield, Red Cross certified WSI, 5 yrs teaching experience
Sarah Perkins, Red Cross certified WSI, certified lifeguard, 5 yrs teaching experience
Lindsey Brierre, Red Cross Certified WSI, 4 yrs teaching experience
The lessons we now teach combine the Red Cross Learn to Swim program with the method mentioned above. Since 2014, we've taught over 3000 children this method and about 80% of these toddlers and preschoolers learned to swim well enough to save themselves if they fell into a swimming pool. I have named this new method, Survival First. Some toddlers may not be strong enough to accomplish all the goals listed on this page without a little assistance, but by 3 years of age, all children will be expected to complete these skills by lesson 8.
I look forward to bonding with each of your little ones during lessons. As a Mommy of three, I understand how hard it is to let go and let a little one experience new, scary things, particularly when they are upset. However, you are allowing them to be taught a skill that might one day save their lives. I encourage you to be tough, take lots of deep breaths, and allow us to teach your children this method. By the end of lessons, you'll be amazed at how proud they are to show off their new skills to you!
My name is Taylor Alexander. My husband, Chris, and I have three beautiful children, Ian, born March 2010, Eli, born January 2012, and Elise born January 2017. I am a Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor as well as CPR certified, and have taught Red Cross lessons off and on since 2000. However, since we spend so much time near water and had a close call when Ian was 3, I wanted something more aggressive for my children than Red Cross lessons which encourage children to swim at their own pace beginning at age 4 or later. I wanted them to swim as early as possible.
I signed them up for lessons where we were living at the time, which boasted they could have my children swimming in 8 lessons or less thanks to a prone positioning method. To my surprise, both were swimming well after 4 30-minute lessons!
DO I GET IN THE POOL DURING YOUR BEGINNER LESSONS? No, you do not get in the pool but you will get wet. This is how the beginner lessons begin: You hand your child to the lead instructor in the water, they guide them to the assistant, the assistant guides them to the steps where you will assist them out of the water. Little ones may want to be held until they get accustomed to the routine.
DO ALL CHILDREN, AGES 2 - 5 YEARS, TAKE THE SAME BEGINNER CLASS? Yes, the beginner classes, not to be confused with Tiny Tadpoles, are for non-swimming children ages 2 - 5 years old. We tried a toddler-only class but found the success rate was much higher when the younger children mix with the big kids. The little ones modeled after then older children and got happy a lot faster than when they were with 1 and 2 year olds only.
CAN MY CHILD TAKE YOUR BEGINNER LESSONS EVEN THOUGH HE/SHE IS OLDER THAN 5? Children older than 5 will be considered on a case by case basis. If the child is older than 5, normally developing, and willing to learn to swim, usually an exception will be made. Children who will be physically resistant to being held in the water would not be candidates for this method. We recommend private lessons elsewhere as it will take more time and a quieter environment to ensure the success of the child.
CAN MY CHILD PARTICIPATE IN BEGINNER SURVIVAL FIRST LESSONS EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE YOUNGER THAN 2 YEARS? After adding our Tiny Tadpoles class in 2017, we decided to raise the age of our beginner class to 24mths in 2018. Children with this class as a base, did phenomenally better after having pool exposure and learning breath control. If you have an 18-24mth old that is comfortable with water over head and face and can hold their breath when submerged, feel free to enroll them in the beginner class.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO ENROLL MY CHILD IF THEY ARE UNDER THE AGE OF 3 AND ARE NEVER AROUND WATER? In Louisiana, we are always around water whether it be a swimming pool, pond, river, or simply a fountain in a business lobby. Less than 1/2 of children under the age of 2 will learn how to swim proficiently during lessons but it's important to get them into a swim program so they learn about the consequences of water. Having your child in lessons at a young age also sets them up for success in the coming years.
HOW ARE CHILDREN TAUGHT TO SWIM SO QUICKLY? Survival First uses a prone positioning method so children learn to swim correctly with bodies on top of the water and faces down. Lessons are fast-paced and each day we repeat tasks several times until they are mastered. About half of the children will be swimming by the end of the first week and more than 80% will be swimming by the end of 8 lessons. Putting your child in formal swim lessons reduces your child's risk of drowning by EIGHTY EIGHT PERCENT! You’ll be amazed at how well your toddlers and preschoolers will be swimming after just 4 hours of lessons. Don’t become a statistic—allow us to teach your child to swim. NOW!
YOUR LESSONS ARE HELD IN PRAIRIEVILLE. ISN'T THAT TOO FAR FROM BATON ROUGE? We now have 15 residential pools around the greater Baton Rouge area to serve you! Check out our Registration website to find a location near you. https://www.iclassprov2.com/parentportal/tadpoleacademy/classes?page=2
DO I HAVE TO STAY WITH MY CHILD OR DO I DROP THEM OFF? We applaud parents who are signing their children up for our lessons because they want their child to be able to swim to safety in case they fall into a swimming pool. You will be staying for all of the lessons because you are the kind of parent who will want to learn these practices so you can continue them throughout the summer with your child. You do not actually get in the pool but you are a vital part your child's success because of your support on the sidelines. The first couple of days are challenging but after that, you'll be amazed and so proud of your little tadpole and their new skills!
I HAVE 2 (OR 3!) CHILDREN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 2 and 5 YRS. CAN I SIGN THEM UP FOR THE SAME BEGINNER CLASS? Yes! You can absolutely put them in the same class but I would bring someone to help you the first 2-3 days. This is how the lessons work: you hand your child to the lead instructor in the water, the lead guides them in the prone position to an assistant, the assistant guides them to the steps, you walk around to meet them at the steps, you get right back in line. Your child will likely be upset until they bond with us and get used to swimming correctly with their face in the water, so a helper will be nice to have. This has usually subsided after 2 or 3 lessons and they begin to have the best time swimming!
I HAVE A BABY/YOUNGER CHILD THAT HAS TO COME WITH ME TO THE LESSONS THAT MY OLDER CHILD IS ENROLLED. CAN I BRING THEM ALONG? Absolutely! We've had several parents bring their little ones in everything from strollers to push cars. They can hang out in the shade and enjoy a snack while big bro/sis learns to swim or they can ride right along side Mom or Dad near the pool. We will make it work--just bring your "big kids" to us so they can learn how to swim!
I FORGOT HOW TO WORK WITH MY CHILD ON BACK FLOATING. CAN YOU SHOW ME HOW TO DO IT AGAIN? Sure! Here is a great instructional video from youtube:
Lindsey Lamana, Red Cross certified WSI Aide, 2 yrs teaching experience
Laura Ahrens, Red Cross certified WSI, 2 yrs teaching experience
Grace Ahrens, Red Cross certified WSI Aide, 2 yrs teaching experience
Rion Carr, Red Cross certified WSI Aide, certified lifeguard, 2 yrs teaching experience
Baldwin Rice, 6 yrs coaching experience, certified lifeguard
How to hold their breath when they enter the water.
How to swim to safety if they were to accidentally fall into a swimming pool.
How to hold onto the side of the pool, pull themselves out, or get out at the steps or ladder.
They will retrieve objects in about 4 feet of water.
Children will jump from an elevated surface, come up swimming, and swim to the side.
Children who show readiness learn how to use their arms to move through the water and will be shown how to take a breath while swimming.
Children will be introduced to back floating.
Children swim fully clothed for an entire lesson so they can learn what it feels like to swim in the weight of wet clothing and shoes.