Fear and Empathy in the Swimming Pool - Bangkok Prep

Fear and Empathy in the Swimming Pool

Each year brings new children to a school, and it’s a new environment for them.  They have new friends, new teachers, and for some: the completely new experience of swimming in a big pool.

For many children this is quite daunting, as all children notice the depth of a pool long before anything else to do with the pool. They instinctively know that the depth is bigger than them.

Putting their head underwater is akin to us landing on Mars. Water is 780 times thicker than air and when someone submerges in water all the senses are affected, particularly sound where it becomes distinctly muffled. This “loss of the senses” can be very daunting, even terrifying, for someone who has never been exposed to structured swimming instruction.

Thailand has 2,815km of world class coastline and an incredible 40% of its farmed land is rice paddies. This is a significant amount of open water.  It also does not even count the 5 major river systems.

In most cases young Thai children do not have access to swimming lessons. Their parents didn’t.  Their grandparents didn’t. The lack of confidence around water can become a generational lesson around avoidance, rather than a life skill.

In Thailand, four children under the age of 15 die each DAY from drowning.

Read that again.

Parents in rural Thailand rarely have physical protections for their children from drowning. They can’t put up fences. They don’t have safety devices.  In most cases nearby rescuers also cannot swim.

How do they protect their children from drowning without the above?

They make their children frightened of the water. This is their best defense. They tell the children there are spirits in the water, ghosts, and monsters. You cannot blame them. There is not much else they can do.

Though think again for the families of those 120 children that will drown in Thailand this month.

Ask if there is anything better than making our children the best that they can be.  So that they can grow up and have the confidence and eventually as a parent to teach their own children. The domino effect of being able to pass on life skills such as swimming is truly powerful.

Teaching water familiarity is a slow process and it is like learning a foreign language, it becomes challenging the older the child. It takes time for trust to be built.  It takes time for fears or myths to be shown in the light.

It requires empathy from the teacher, and most importantly consistency of lessons.

Next week I will write about the 2 key teaching points for Water Familiarity.


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.

Admissions Procedure

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.

Early Years

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.

Secondary School

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.

School Fees

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2023 – 2024 School Calendar – Download

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Year Group Equivalent Information – Download

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