Accelerated Learning for Infant Aquatics


Kerre Burley
Director, Gould Adams Park Aquatic Centre    
Owner, Ace Aquatics
Owner, Gould Adams Park Aquatic Centre Swim School
Logan, Queensland  Australia
given at WABC2007 Oct. 2, 2007


pdf of PowerPoint Slides

For a topic that suggests rapid results and speed, it has taken over 35 years of teaching & studying  to produce this ground-breaking merge of new technologies and blend of sciences: there is no doubt these principals are going to continue to evolve as our industry leaders (master swimming teachers ) experience, document and share their discoveries and accelerated results with others.


NLP sciences in Aquatics- the most exciting opportunities to reach mastery levels.


·               Neuro  - The nervous systems taking in of reality through the five senses

·               Linguistic - Become aware of how communication occurs within self and with others

·               Programming - Understanding the mind is like a computer with thought patterns as the software discovering what programs are determining current experience.


Now what is it really??? In the context of our industry

An Attitude – curiosity & willingness to experiment. A Methodology – Modeling, continual experimentation. A trail of techniques – techniques taught as NLP


Instructors tip - Many great instructors already possess related qualities and instincts associated with NLP practices, although understanding these simple basic principals will help every teacher evolve to new levels.


The Accelerated Learning Program (Ace aquatics’- royal flush)

Includes a combination of several skills sets including

  • NLP ( Neuro Linguistic Programming),
  • Neuro repatterning,
  • state elicitation & anchors,
  • Linguistics, “learning styles”.
  • Creation technologies  (Law of attraction)
  • Sleeptalk –Auto subconscious suggestion,
  • Parental empowerment & influence &
  • The magical accelerated formulas, tips & observations.


Imagine generating results, with your children that earn you a reputation for excellence or consider doubling or tripling your clientele just through word of mouth?  How does it work?


1. Create the perfect energy, environment & learning styles for success.

All learning is state dependant; therefore instructors must be able to elicit & elevate their own states and those of others. Be able to lead & pace energy levels during the classes. Old saying walk like a warrior, appear like an angel.  Good positive and happy vibes are the ideal learning environment. (Ever had your infants pick up on your bad mood?)



Example of states

Happy, Playful, Excited, overjoyed, focussed, relaxed, helpful, caring, eager, committed, serene. During a normal class an instructor may need to be in several.


TIP TO GET YOURSELF IN A GOOD PLACE Before your class. Think back to a time, where you felt good!


You were in love - You laughed so hard your face hurt- you got the giggles

You had a long hot shower - There were no traffic or long queues at the bank/post office

Your heard your favorite song on the radio - You could sleep in – you had a bubble bath

Your in bed listening to the rain outside - You used a hot towel straight out of the drier

You had a chocolate milkshake or ice cream or both - You laughed for no reason at all

You overhead someone saying something nice about you- You winked at a cute stranger


2. Understanding the need for powerful positive persuasive language.


We all know that Children 0 – 7 are clearly in the imprint period, there for positive or negative ssuggestions given to young children, by-pass the critical and analytical conscious mind. In other words young children up to the age of 7 are still developed “reasoning or thinking skills “and cannot analyze or dismiss patterns of thoughts.


These suggestions are accepted straight into the subconscious where they immediately become belief regardless of truth. Now understand, our subconscious mind has an impeccable memory, remembering whatever the conscious mind has been led to believe since birth and never, ever forgets!


Extracts from Joanne Gelding

(Author of Sleeptalk)

Children are our future and we must realize this with a sense of urgency, from the moment our newborn baby’s mind begins to operate, suggestion occurs. The most important factor for our small children is their self-identity & belief systems.

We have an opportunity while our children are still in the developmental years of their lives to re-establish or correct negative suggestions which have previously been accepted as truth within their subconscious mind.


Remembering our children’s self-concept is formed by the age of five, and

they lack the ability to reason as adults do. There is ample evidence that suggestions are being stored in memory before birth. Since this occurs before the memory banks that aid reasoning are developed, such impressions are very powerful. Even with re-evaluation, it can be very difficult to change a belief


 In adults, the information presented to the brain goes through a process of conscious and subconscious acceptance. Information may be accepted, rejected, or modified to suit existing beliefs. However small children do not have conscious, critical, analytical logic. There is no time to develop comparisons such as an adult may use. Therefore, our children accept suggestions readily. (The external stimuli of suggestions are not filtered through the barriers of logical appraisal before final acceptance because that logic has not yet developed.)

The conscious mind is always accepting suggestions from its environment, and without developed logic it transforms suggestions into auto suggestions which enter the storehouse of our children’s memory, becoming part of their belief system at the subconscious level. This is why our little ones are so impressionable, so easily influenced by those in authority and why their self-concept is formed so strongly by the age of five.

It’s reasonable to believe that a little one raised in a negative environment gains negative input and as a consequence starts life’s journey with negative and limited beliefs at the subconscious level. Conversely, a child in a positive environment receives positive inputs and has many more positive opportunities & experiences.  


Children don’t consciously remember original suggestions. The first person in authority over a child is usually mum; dad and older children within the family. The next major authority is usually the child’s swimming, kindy or school teachers. It’s frightening that the impact of just one careless statement, made in a bad moment by someone in authority, can be so enormous. Our children grow into adulthood not remembering the original suggestions or events consciously, yet are a victim of them.

Children are not born with negative beliefs or a sense of limitations or lack! we box them in .However,  its very exciting that we can also influence our small infants and children with good positive beliefs. For example. “Johnnie, you are such a good listener, you will really enjoy going to school, and you’re going to learn lots from your teachers.” 

This one simple statement could have an impact that lasts a life time for Johnnie.

  • Tips for more appropriate language
  1. having  a zero tolerance for negations, sarcasm and negatives statements on pool deck ( or in your whole world)
  2. Gently guide and educate parents. To positive language and behaviour patterns using your sphere of influence. Place resources or educational documentation in newsletter handouts or parents rooms.
  3. Really think of some positive statements pertaining to the children, you could use during your session regularly. It’s never to late to learn – never too late to change


Just some of statements (& possible implications) we have heard parents saying to their small tots on pool deck. (We have no problems gently re-educating some of these parents)  

    • How can you be so silly, stupid, clumsy etc etc?

They are all loaded words that can be especially damaging to a child’s self- esteem and confidence. Compound a belief they are not unconditionally loved.

    • Why can’t you be a good girl?

A negative label can become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Young Children cannot make the distinction between themselves and the behaviour so can start to form the belief of unworthiness.

    • Go away

An angry dismissal by us can make our child feel unloved and unwanted

    • Shut up! 

Now apart from being impolite, degrading, controlling and demeaning, children will learn by a parent’s example. They can begin to form the belief that their communication is important or unworthy.

  • Do it or else!

This demand may not be continually motivating especially when it’s something so vague and unspecific.

  • If you don’t get out of that pool and come with me now, ill leave without you.

This threat of abandonment as a discipline tool is a very negative and destructive approach to take it reinforces a fear that our young children already have – that parents might disappear and never come back.


Or just as bad within earshot of a child,

    • Why did I every have kids? Or Wish I could give him back? This message relays a feeling on worthlessness and unloved. It can be carried around often unconsciously into adulthood.
    • You’re just like your father? Why can’t you be like your brother?   This can confuse, wound and hurt. Children can not interpret or understand the ambiguity of it all, especially if they see rejection or lack of love between their parents, but love to another sibling?



Learning to build deep rapport and nlp linguistic skills can greatly assist you communication preferred patterns with clarity and integrity.


Become masterful, just a good or experience teacher is not good enough.


3. Improve delivery to enhance, utilize and accelerated tips & learning styles

  • Visual – large over the top actions,
  • Kinesiatrics – cuddles – piggy backs- hands on demonstrations ,
  • Auditory - For young children attach simple “feeling words” to shortened statements (kids understand the vibe) .I felt, I heard, I saw
  • Ad - Engage the children by hooking the mind, Leave off the end of the sentence

            Repeat things, use catch phrases or poems the magic number is always 3.



  • Use the infant feedback sandwich. (within 30 seconds if possible)

What was right?     What was fantastic?   What was great? (Focus on their strengths)


4. Enlighten & nurture parental Involvement.

Anything is possible in the present of rapport, take the time to include your parents, regulate reports, give them feedback and assign tasks or skill sets to work on with the kids. Parents need to know the benefit of such a commitment.  Educate them on the improvements they will see from their infant’s participation in increased activity and nutrition. Empower them to be part of the process.



5. Commit to the accelerated formula. 1, 24, 7.

When learning something for the first time,

On the first day - the information is layered in the short term memory. (Bear in mind the information will be stored with all senses attached.)

If practise and revised 24 hours later – the same information will be stored in another part of the brain (mid- memory)

If the same skills are practised repeated & revived 7 days later – the information & all sensory attachments, gets stored into the subconscious memory and can be recalled at any time.



Small children can accomplish this, with ease so much faster than adults as they don’t hold limiting beliefs about their memory ability (provided they or have a conscious mind that gets in the way, like us oldies).



And the most powerful gift of all,

 (Have you ever had a difficult infant and your just not getting through?)


“Sleeptalk” by Mrs Joanne Golding

Seek this sensational medium out, study it then encourage your parents to do the same How often we see parents struggling with small children and their inappropriate behaviours. ?  This can be a secret weapon to success “. The results are outstanding.



Encourage parents to take back control, unlimited beliefs & possibilities from parents. Children only get boxed in by our boundaries and limitations we place around them. The world is full of adults who were told they couldn’t do something as a kid.


Today we have just scratched the surface. There are many other NLP skills that work brilliantly in our aquatic environment, so my intention today is simply to assure instructors of all levels & experience to become aware of new learning’s, new sciences & new skills that are out there.



Action Call  

Don’t just rely on conventions or rest on your years of experience or intuition, start searching and discovering more skills available to you. Seek out, ground –breaking sciences, practices and use them to propel yourselves & others to mastery or even higher artistry levels & beyond.


Instructors tip

For more information on pursuing “excellence in aquatics”, please don’t hesitate to email me on or


Enjoy your successes, I can guarantee, if you apply these acceleration principals there will be many of them.   Kerre Burley