Forceful Practices in Swim Lessons and Associated Risks

What do forceful practices look like in swim lessons and what might be the associated risks?


This session will explore the following concepts within the context of swim and self rescue lessons – force, toxic stress, child abuse and neglect, trauma, betrayal bonds, traumatic versus adaptive dissociation; impact on brain development, capacity to trust, attachment, other developmental factors.

Drawing upon the latest neuroscientific evidence, we will explore the relevance of these concepts and definitions to our activities with infants and young children in the water.

This session will challenge you to reflect upon your own practices and beliefs and invite the opportunity for positive reinforcement, growth and change.

We will also discuss ways in which you can address parent questions and concerns about the practices used in your swim school.


This session will give you


  • A greater understanding of the stress response system in young children and how this relates to the use of force


  • An increased awareness of how a child’s development may be adversely impacted by the use of various practices during lessons


  • An increased awareness of child rights and protection within the context of lessons


  • Ideas on how to address parent questions and concerns about your swim school’s philosophy and practices


Duration of session 

The duration of this session can be flexible to suit your needs, from a minimum time of a 60 min presentation including question/discussion time to a half-day interactive workshop comprising 2 x 90 min sessions.


About your presenter

Janine Ramsey is a licenced counsellor in Australia and learn to swim professional specialising in trauma informed practices. She has been involved in the learn to swim industry for 40 years in various roles including swim teacher, swim school owner and now as consultant and educator for swim schools around the world.

Janine is passionate about ensuring families have positive experiences at the swim school and that lessons are free of force and trauma.