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 Digne Dingue D'Eau : sound framework


« Water of gushing springs, running water of rivers, water of oceans and seas in an eternal motion, water as a source of life to has always attracted man.”

Just limiting himself in bathing or really engaging in swimming, man gets in touch with this environment with an earthling behaviour, preserving his physical relations with the solid world.”

From the 9th to 18th of June, with two daily sessions of one hour, 30 children at elementary level, Mrs Raynaud’s class, only 5 of them being able to swim a few meters, are going to meet a new swimming teaching.”

At the beginning, we work on big depth, the task is simple: we have to go down on one extremity of the ladder and go up at the other. Some children move immediately”

It’s the entire new situation which prevents Christelle from going into action. Helping with knees and toes, she wonders about the continuity and homogeneity of the space she enters to build it in a sensory way. Fore arms aren’t used to go ahead, just to avoid falling”

Pierre can’t abandon the ladder to pass from feet endorsement to breaking off to the swimming pool’s sill.

No encouragement will bring him to follow his friends.

With his agreement, we put him down in the water slowly, very near to the ladder to which he goes back quickly. Once arrived, he considers twice the space covered which he couldn’t do during the action.

More than Christelle does, he moves on his arms.

Two routes made him able to move”

His body stiff from his armpits to his toes, he informs himself about the characteristics and space he covered by touching, also does his body”

To earn some precious time, children are invited to go down in the water without the ladder. Everyone is free to find how to go down. Children have to grope around with this new situation”

Today the sun is still hiding, and except for some cold children, all the class is in the water… Children have decided to turn around the swimming pool…

Little by little Pierre and Christelle catch up with the rest.”

To make each half of the class cross, everyone organises himself as far as space and friends are concerned.

For the second swim, children give themselves rules and traffic jams are avoided”

And Legs begin to move, actively”

Thanks to legs being used, each body moves further and further from the wall.

Chased by Bruno, Pierre pulls on his arms and, not to be thrown off balance, so as to preserve his body’s verticality, he uses a “running” motion.

All new possibilities of moving are encouraged.

Gaining more space is always a criterion for progress.

It’s possible to cross holds…and to play the blind”

It’s also possible to move back to the wall, with the risks to find oneself in an uncomfortable situation…”

To practise Pierre chose one of the corner’s of the swimming pool”

Successively face then back to the wall, we move away from the solid world and little by little we become free from the sill”

Another difficulty: recognize only by touching the friend we meet, a simple game in which the lacks of vision in its organizing role prepares to submersion”

Children are deliberately led away from the wall by using the high pole thus vertically equilibrating their bodies…”

The pole kept just above the water creates a new situation and imposes a succession of roles one after other: maintain the pole, move, and hold the other extremity of it.”

The cohesion of the group is thus strengthened by their very important action, the legs assure a new balance of the body, the progression being only obtained by the arms motions.

The use of a lane rope, which sways and sinks in, reinforces functions’ differentiation, one balancing the legs, and the other making use of the arms and also dealing with its coordination”


Let’s have some rest: the time granted for some game, allows everyone to make the inventory of his, or her, present possibilities, and enables the master to appreciate some relax time in the water!

To become a swimmer, it’s essential to be able to submerge yourselves totally”… with the pole, by the water line, near the wall, all is a pretext to submersion.

When this capacity of submerge oneself is acquired, we can propose to the children another goal: to get in contact with the bottom of the swimming pool pedagogically, classmates expend the solid world and become those thanks to whom you can reach your goal”

Psychologically, it’s a very important stage. The depth of the pool becomes some concrete data and space appears united, limited.

After having reached the bottom of the swimming pool, in all manners possible, progressively the children get back to the surface without any help”

To totally subscribe to the action of water, it’s very important to go by many sorts of falls and to learn by experience, that in the water, we don’t reach a horizontal position. If you accept to stay perfectly flat, you float as long as we desire it.

Another improvement step is reached when the child has an exact notion of his orientation in the water. The bottom of the pool will serve as a mark.

Putting simultaneously one’s forehead and nose on a step of the ladder shows the horizontality of the body.

With the help of a classmate, you manage to make it”

You complement the information by putting your nape and back on the floor, it becomes clear.

Living at a big depth the experience of doing nothing in the water leads to a new stage.

Being on the back or on the belly, and vice versa, is an illustration of the new abilities you have to choose yourself balance.”

Knowing that the water carries you allows new ways of penetrating it.

In a jumping situation, the attitude that it will be matter to have is already taken from the floor and maintained in the air. It’s a real anticipation of posture.

The lack of body deformation during and after the jump is a success sign”


All the ways to enter the water are searched, and more especially those excluding direct sight of the point of fall”


Whereas before, we used to enter the water by remaining vertical it is now a question of penetrating by falling without letting intervene the natural reflexes of upstraight recovery and during after the fall”

Till this moment, the natural breathing solution which had prevailed was apnoea. To pass over this stage, lots of solutions and more adapted ones have to be found, they condition future motor improvements”

At first, it’s the possibility of opening a wide mouth while one’s head is in the water… which proves, if need it, that water doesn’t get in.

Then, it’s necessary to use all possible ways to exhale.

Then we associate continual exhalation to various forms of motion with the help of one’s legs or arms, your head being totally submerged.

To have your arms always better oriented in space, successive contacts of your fingers with the bottom of the pool constitute precious signs”

Now to the problems of breathing exchanges is added the patient search of space and time organisation in the swimmer’s motions”

A slow rhythm, even a very slow one, constitutes an almost permanent aim, but breath and motion are still juxtaposed at this stage: you swim without breathing and you stop swimming to breathe…”

(Exchange between teacher and pupils: “how many Marie-Claude? 12 movements” “David How many? 15 movements”)

We try to let the trunk stable to obtain a better precision of the legs’ action. The contact between hands in front of the person and their contact with the thighs behind you permit to organize space better and to have a better perception of your body”

For these children the improvement to come in the way to swim remains subordinated to an even better integrated breath”

Backstroke construction doesn’t escape from the same rules.

The breathing solution consisting in blocking one’s breath limits obviously the length of the distance covered”

Opening the mouth, exhaling completely, continually or in an adjusted manner, associated to steady, large and symmetrical movements will allow important improvements”

In these attempts of start dive, the acceptance of the imbalance seems acquired but the problem of more complex thus more intense impulses is still to be solved. When breathing is subordinated to the arms’ action, one can cover longer and longer distances”

This experiment lad with a hazardous choice of a class of children aged from 8 to 9 was limited to 15 lessons. The pictures show the level which has been reached: all the strokes seem to be within the reach of those children”

Voice of a teacher: ” when we try a pedagogic experiment like this one and with children who have problems, one has to see the result. And here, for me, it’s suitable, more than suitable, it’s enthusiastic.”

As you have just seen it, the problems exposed lead to a variety of answers.

A movement is never demonstrated. For sure children learn by imitation but we value findings more than imitation.

All the manners found are compared, tested by everyone and the best ones are defined and adopted by the group”

In his intervention, the teacher remains sober, because he knows above all that without a sufficient quantity of actions, there would be never any transformation”.


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