• Birthlight Global

North / South America

  • Argentina
  • Brazil (Brasil)
  • Peru (Perú)

Asia Pacific

  • Australia
  • China (中华人民共和国)
  • Japan (日本)
  • New-Zealand
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan (台灣)
  • Thailand (ประเทศไทย)


  • France
  • Cyprus
  • Germany (Deutschland)
  • Greece (Ελλάδα)
  • Italy (Italiano)
  • Netherlands (Nederland)
  • Portugal (Português)
  • Russia (Российская Федерация)
  • Spain (España)
  • Switzerland (Schweiz)
  • United Kingdom

International Swim Schools Spectacular 2020

It was perfect timing this January to be tutoring baby swim courses for Birthlight in Singapore. Australian swim had organised their conference in this amazing city and I have had the pleasure of attending and catching up with old friends and making new contacts. The venue was the Novotel Hotel right in the centre at bustling Clark Quay on the river.

Linda Tan, who is our course organiser in Singapore, and I enjoyed the day together discussing new ideas and possibilities, just what you need from an interesting conference.

The day started with two well known speakers Ulrika Faerch and Terje Stakset who have both presented at birthlight conferences as their beliefs and techniques are totally in line with our philosophy. Child initiated practices modelled by the parents in a mutual interaction of exploration and fun.

Ulrika looked back over many past attitudes to children and the issues that are presenting to families at this time. There is a connection with the amount of screen time regularly experienced and possible depression and even lack of empathy. What we all need to feel happy is to feel safe, to be heard, to be touched in a way that feels good and respectful. As swim teachers we need to educate the parents as well as the babies, they are social and emotional beings too. Quality relationships have – equal dignity, Integrity, authenticity and personal responsibility. It was a very moving presentation and she received a well-deserved standing ovation.

Terje followed with his usual factual yet funny approach, a great combination as so engaging yet challenging at the same time. He also talked about mobile phones and the lack of true communication for many families. How we treat boys and girls so differently, the importance of body language especially with a baby or toddler who does not have verbal communication yet. Apparently according to one study, 63% of parents do not believe it is important to talk to babies before they are 3 months old. We know so much is absorbed at this young age and will impact on neural connections and future cognitive and emotional development. He discussed the dialogue between parents and babies and how crying is the last part of the message when needing to be understood. The was a very amusing clip of Dads learning baby talk and their pleasure in the results as the babies responded with delight and laughter.

There followed a panel discussion on many aspects of baby swim which also included Judy Watts from Australia, Sharron Madormo from Brazil and Le Tan from China.

After a delicious lunch and interesting conversations, there were presentations on trauma free swimming. What are the causes, the consequences and how to avoid distress whilst still achieving essential skills and reaching goals? From the Hampton swim school in Australia, Sue Mayo presented research and findings around trauma created by environment, teaching practices and parental direction. We looked at the differences between Positive , Tolerable and Toxic stress and “ how to harness the power of gentle learning”  From the same swim school, Julia Ham and Jen Sadler presented a course they have created for children who for whatever reason are unhappy in the water. It is in fact mainly for the parents and includes online learning and some practical sessions before joining regular classes. This educating and gentle approach “changing the memory” has been a huge success.

Concluding this section of the conference Fun, ‘trauma free” survival swimming was presented by the Swimland way with a focus on older children who ned extra care and nurture.

Our day finished with Jun Lian reporting on her programme at Loong Swim Club in China which included the theme of educating the parents to create positive attachment and a love of water for everyone.

Linda and I very much enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the conference which concluded a very successful visit to Singapore for baby swim trainings at her beautiful centre Inspire Mum and Baby See you next year!

Sally Lomas
Birthlight Tutor