After our previous blog post where we discussed Fibby compared to armbands, we now delve deeper into the question: "Why can every child from the age of 2 swim with Fibby?" Discover how this process resembles learning to walk, understand the invaluable role of parents, and take a look at the scientific research behind the Fibby learn-through-play methodology from the Fibby learning app, in collaboration with Windesheim University of Applied Sciences.
Do you remember that time when your child learned to walk? A dance between falling and getting back up. The excitement to reach you made every stumble a joyful moment. Fun and learning went hand in hand, suddenly it got better, with less help. Before you knew it, fragile items were no longer safe. This special experience of learning to walk may evoke the warmest memories. Surprisingly enough, this learning process has more in common with learning to swim with Fibby than you might think.
The Science: How does the young child learn?
Dr. Thelen emphasizes in her research the non-linear learning process of children (Non-Linear Dynamic System, NDSNS, Thelen, 1995). Developing skills in young children is like a unique hike; it doesn't follow a fixed pace but continuously adapts to the environment, needs, and strengths of your child. Children develop up to 8 years old, especially as long as it is practical for them. (Gibson, 1979, Newells, 1986, and Davids et al., 2008).
First 'swimming lessons'
Those first nine months in amniotic fluid? Those were actually our very first 'swimming lessons'. Think of those adorable videos of babies frolicking underwater like mini fish. But as science shows, this development only continues if the child 'needs' it.
Those first nine months in amniotic fluid? Those were actually our very first 'swimming lessons'.
That explains why young children can sometimes feel a bit insecure in the water if they haven't been there for years, or if their development in the water has never been stimulated. Our philosophy? Rediscovering the water together by stimulating development through play at the child's pace. Together with the greatest confidant: you!
Discovering through play
Now that you're familiar with our approach, where we believe in fostering development in a way that aligns with children's natural growth, we invite you to take another look at the Fibby and learn app. The certified swimming aid with a tilt mechanism on your child's back provides buoyancy and immediately places the child in a natural swimming position, tapping into its innate water skills directly.
Every journey is unique, but the end result is the same: as long as you follow your child's pace with pleasure and wonder, learning will come naturally.
In the learning app, developed in collaboration with swimming experts, educators, and scientists, we guide you step by step and in a playful manner in learning essential water skills. Every journey is unique, but the end result is the same: as long as you follow your child's pace with pleasure and wonder, learning will come naturally. Recognizable from the learning process in learning to walk?
Where are we now?
From the moment Fibby and the methodology were introduced, we have been conducting research together with Mandy van der Weijden-van Rooden, who is conducting her doctoral research on the swimming lessons of the future, on the effects and results. This opens up a whole new world when it comes to young children learning to move in the water. For example, we discovered that children at the point of 'Moving in the water independently without a parent, independently without Fibby' do it so naturally that it is already heading towards a swimming stroke.
Researcher Mandy and Fibby co-founder Hugo are by the side of a Fibby water lesson where children joyfully discover and grow in the water.
Research: a head start on swimming lessons?
To discover if Fibby gives children a head start in swimming lessons, we follow children who develop self-reliance in a playful way, with and without Fibby. This research has been going on for a while, and we will continue to follow it. The initial results show a positive trend.
Children who started directly in the deep end with Fibby, supported by Fibby in a natural swimming position, had up to two months' head start on peers who did not make this start.
Children who started directly in the deep end with Fibby, supported by Fibby in a natural swimming position, had up to two months' head start on peers who did not make this start. But more importantly, we see that children are free, confident in what they can do, and continue to explore during the lessons.
But first, essential water skills!
And of course, besides the ongoing research, we have continuous contact with thousands of 'Feebs', families exploring the world of swimming in a playful way and growing together with Fibby.
Her child recalled the water skills it had learned with Fibby and climbed safely onto the shore independently
Recently, we received the most confirming feedback from Germany. Priscilla shared with us that her child, after learning to swim with Fibby last summer, unexpectedly fell into the water without a swimming aid/Fibby. Her child recalled the water skills it had learned with Fibby and climbed safely onto the shore independently. A potential disaster was averted, according to the grateful mother. You can read more about her experiences in our next blog.