Breaking the Wall of Fear in the Swimming Pool - Bangkok Prep

Breaking the Wall of Fear in the Swimming Pool

Water familiarity is the primary theme of children’s very first swimming ‘lessons’ and it is simply that – becoming familiar and comfortable being in water.

There should never be a clock on how long it takes a new swimmer to become comfortable in water and like most developmental stages, children progress at a different pace. These early lessons should also not be about technique.

We do not have the luxury of setting time schedules for when someone will lose their fear of water or feel completely comfortable. Also, sophisticated instruction to a child who is consumed with fear is as effective as a band aid on a gunshot wound. What is required is patience from both educator and parent, and of course the consistency of the child being exposed to swimming.

Many parents feel incredible distress during this early stage as some children stress about the upcoming lesson. Many children learn what day of the week their swimming lesson is and the night before the lesson becomes a living nightmare for both parent and child. In some extreme cases, children begin missing the whole day of school for the sake of avoiding the swimming lesson. In other cases parents amass substantial financial cost of facilitating solicited doctor’s notes.

Professional swimming teachers have empathy for the parents who are placed under duress from their child at home. These teachers also realise they do not have to deal with the ‘conflict’ at home.

However this stage is the most crucial for consistency in breaking that seemingly endless wall of fear. It’s a stage where both parent and teacher need to work closely together with the parent communicating freely and the teacher supporting the development at home. It is also important that the parent has an understanding of what the teaching process is. It is not a guarded secret.

Parents should never feel like they are on their own in this journey.

As mentioned in the last article. Breaking the fear of water is far more challenging the older the swimmer. That fear has festered and compounded. Removing the fear is like taking down a brick wall but it must be done brick by brick.

There are two main teaching parts in the beginning of a child’s education in water familiarity and both are as important as each other.

Buoyancy: Body positioning is everything in swimming and we move through the water efficiently and correctly by being in the horizontal position. Floating is also a water safety skill as by lying on our back we are able to conserve energy if needed. One of the first lessons a child will get in a structured swimming lesson is laying on their back with arms and legs extended in a star shape. We call this the ‘starfish’ position. The teacher places their hand under the back of the child, supporting the child, while the child learns to relax and ultimately float. Please note that some children react the same way a cat would react to being on their back in water! The building of trust will be time expensive but a value that is priceless once achieved.

Mobility: This is feeling movement in the water with both limbs. And it is all about FEELING – let the child explore this movement and you will see the child gain greater independence gradually and happily. Any flotation support should be around the torso and not on the limbs as this creates a false sense of mobility. Please do not use arm floats as it hinders future learning and time will be needed to correct.

The most important thing is to be patient and know that by consistency and exposure in a calm environment, the wall is coming down.


Please reach out if you need –


Matt Ferrier

Primary Swim Teacher


Our Campus


BANGKOK, 10110

77 สุขุมวิท 77 วัฒนา
กรุงเทพมหานคร 10110


Primary School

The Head of Primary at Bangkok Prep emphasizes the importance of primary education in shaping students’ lives academically and socially. The school aims to prepare global citizens capable of facing life’s challenges in an ever-changing world. With a dedicated team of educators, Bangkok Prep sets high standards, encouraging students to dream big and work hard towards their goals.

Aligned with the National Curriculum of England and Wales, the school’s curriculum is adapted to reflect Thai culture and society. Teaching follows an innovative thematic approach, integrating real-life contexts with academic rigor to develop well-rounded individuals. Learning is personalized to cater to diverse abilities and talents, fostering mutual respect, trust, and inclusivity.

Bangkok Prep’s primary curriculum extends beyond statutory requirements, focusing on engaging cross-curricular themes to facilitate high-quality learning. Emphasizing active and interactive learning experiences, the curriculum encourages exploration, questioning, and collaboration. The school aims to nurture students’ curiosity, helping them discover lifelong passions and talents while preparing them for a fulfilling future.

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When choosing Bangkok Prep for your child, you’re welcomed into the school family, ensuring a warm and supportive environment. The admissions process begins with completing a brief enquiry form, followed by an invitation for an introductory visit and tour. Conveniently located on Sukhumvit 77, Bangkok Prep offers both Primary and Secondary campuses. Upon deciding on Bangkok Prep, applicants submit their application form and required documents. Assessment sessions are then scheduled based on the applicant’s year level, ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours. The assessment includes various activities and tests tailored to different age groups. After assessment, the admissions team evaluates the application and notifies the family of the decision within 1-2 weeks. Successful applicants receive a formal offer letter and an invoice for initial fees, including placement, security, and registration fees, which must be paid within the specified timeframe to secure the child’s place.

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At Bangkok Prep, the Early Years curriculum follows the Early Years Foundation Stage framework of England, emphasizing thematic topics and child-led learning for a stimulating and enjoyable school experience. It nurtures learning through play and focuses on developing concepts, skills, and positive attitudes across various areas including personal, social, emotional, communication, language, physical, literacy, mathematics, understanding of the world, and expressive arts and design. The curriculum prioritizes individualized learning, ensuring continuous progress while maintaining confidence and a can-do attitude. Specialist sessions in Thai language and culture, music, library, physical education, and swimming further enhance learning opportunities. Supervised by native English teachers and Thai-speaking teaching assistants, children immerse in language acquisition through the immersion method, preparing them for the international community. The Early Years program prioritizes outdoor learning environments, valuing them as essential for children’s wellbeing and development. It serves as ideal preparation for the transition into primary school and provides resources for parents on the Foundation Years website.

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Bangkok Prep prides itself on being a distinct international secondary school in Bangkok, prioritizing student needs and providing a stimulating learning environment. Central to this is the pastoral system, where each student is assigned to a tutor group led by a Form Tutor, ensuring personalized care and support. The curriculum evolves to meet students’ changing needs, offering a core curriculum supplemented by option subjects as students mature. Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) focuses on a broad curriculum adapted from the English National Curriculum, fostering personal growth. In Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11), students choose option subjects alongside a core curriculum, culminating in IGCSE examinations. Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13) sees students specialize in Advanced Level courses while also engaging in a core curriculum and receiving support for university applications. Bangkok Prep fosters a warm, inclusive community and actively participates in regional competitions and events. The school encourages student involvement and leadership, ensuring a thriving learning environment. Contact information is provided for further inquiries.

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