STAnley - First Steps Series

Learn to Swim in 7 steps...

A child’s first learn to swim experience is one of the most important in terms of capturing and retaining their interest. We believe the best way to achieve this is to create safe environments in which children can be introduced to the water whilst having fun and by providing a progressive learn to swim programme that is both challenging and rewarding.

The STAnley - First Steps Series offers a progressive aquatic awareness programme for young children from 2 years to 5 years by combining a flexible mix of lessons, activities and incentives. 7 progressive levels, each with its own full-colour A4 certificate and woven badge.

After completing the 7 steps of the STAnley First Steps Series, pupils should progress to ILSP Level 2 – Goldfish Series.

Children over the age of 5 will probably wish to learn to swim using the Octopus Series.

All the STAnley - First Steps Series lessons are shown below:


STAnley 1 introduces the child to the teacher and their role, entering and exiting the pool safely, kick actions and moving through the water in different directions.


What you will learn

  1. Identify the teacher.
  2. Enter the water safely.
  3. Splash the feet on the surface, whilst holding the
  4. Walk 5m forwards, backwards and sideways through
  5. Move through the water on front for 2m turn and return to start
  6. Move through the water 2m on the back, roll and regain feet
  7. Blow a small object across the pool for 2 metres.
  8. Travel under a woggle using a watering can as shower
  9. Push and glide on the front.
  10. Exit pool safely.


STAnley 2 enables your child to understand poolside safety, master blowing bubbles into the water with nose and mouth submerged, learn to move through the water and return to a standing position.  It also encourages them to learn how to float, roll and push and glide.

What you will learn

  1. Show an understanding of poolside safety.
  2. Enter the water from the poolside safely.
  3. Blow bubbles in water, nose and mouth submerged
  4. Move through the water for 2m on front blowing bubbles and return to standing position
  5. Move through the water for 2 metres on back using an alternating leg action with eyes looking at the ceiling, return to standing position.
  6. Perform a star float
  7. Use front paddle action to move a ball across the pool.
  8. Push and glide on the back.
  9. Roll from front to back, look at the ceiling.
  10. Climb out of the pool safely.


After completing the STAnley 3 your child will really starting to gain their confidence in the water.  They will be able to enter the pool move away and return to the side, they will be confidently performing a star float and move through the water 5 metres on front or back, and many other things, all of which are essential for water safety.

What you will learn

  1. Answer a question on poolside safety.
  2. Enter the water from poolside, move forward 1m then return and exit from the pool unassisted.
  3. With the face in the water and blow bubbles.
  4. Perform a star float on the back and regain the feet.
  5. Move through the water whilst on their back using an alternating leg action for 5 metres.
  6. Move through the water 5 metres on their front using front paddle action.
  7. Complete a 360 turntable with feet off pool floor.
  8. Roll from back to front and back onto back
  9. Jump into the water from poolside with hand support from carer.
  10. Tread water action with legs on woggle – (seahorses).


Taking the STAnley 3 to the next level is the STAnley 4.  Your child will learn skills like, picking up objects from below the water surface, pushing, gliding and rolling onto their back, jumping into the pool and climibing out of the pool unaided.  They will also be starting to look at the different swimming strokes and mastering two different floats.

What you will learn

  1. Answer 2 questions on poolside safety.
  2. Swim 5 metres front paddle, tuck and roll onto back, swim 5 metres on back.
  3. Bob up and down and submerge the face 4 times exhaling underwater
  4. Pick up an object from below the water surface.
  5. Perform 2 float positions.
  6. Push and glide on back tuck and return to side on front
  7. Tread water action with arms and legs.
  8. Attempt a circular action of either arms or legs.
  9. Jump into pool safely unaided.
  10. Climb out of pool safely unaided.


STAnley 5 looks a little more in depth at the breathing and technique needed for front and back crawl.  Once completed children will also be able to retrieve an object from the bottom of the pool, tread water and push and glide on their front keeping their face in the water using their bubble blowing technique learned in earlier STAnleys.

What you will learn

  1. Answer 2 questions on poolside rules.
  2. Swim 2 metres front paddle or back paddle.
  3. Hold 3 different types of floating positions for 3 seconds each.
  4. Breathe rhythmically 4 cycles supported or moving
  5. Jump in from poolside, tread water, turn and swim back to wall
  6. Push off on back, swim 5m using simultaneous leg action
  7. Perform a push and glide on their front, keeping the face in the water and blowing bubbles.
  8. Retrieve an object from bottom of pool.
  9. Demonstrate front crawl arm action.
  10. Demonstrate back crawl arm action.


In the penultimate of the STAnley awards with be able swim confidently through a submerged hoop, change from a front stroke to back stroke whilst swimming, learn the breast stroke leg action and start to look at the sculling action.

What you will learn

  1. Answer 2 water safety questions.
  2. Push and glide on back
  3. Swim through a submerged hoop.
  4. Swim 3 metres using a breaststroke type leg action, holding 2 floats or woggle.
  5. Swim 2 metres on their front and 2 metres back paddle with a smooth transition in between.
  6. Star or pencil jump into the pool, tread water then return to poolside.
  7. Hold side of pool; push off on side under water.
  8. Swim on front, tuck up and return swimming on back.
  9. Swim 5 metres either front crawl or backstroke.
  10. Using a woggle scull forwards, backwards or in a circle.


STAnley 7 is the last award of the series and your child will be swimming confidently now.  Once completed they will be able to use all they have learned previously and apply them to their 10m front stroke, 5m breast stroke, sculling, swimming through a hoop to retrieve an object, treading water and starting to look at the dolphin kick.

What you will learn

  1. Answer 3 water safety questions.
  2. Perform a star float, slowly change to a narrow float and return to a star float on either their front or back.
  3. Push and glide on back with arms stretched then roll onto front.
  4. Swim 2 metres dolphin leg kick on their front or back.
  5. Tread water for 10 seconds.
  6. Swim 5 metres using a frog breaststroke type action of the arms and legs.
  7. Swim 10 meters front crawl confidently, attempting side breathing.
  8. Swim 10 metres on their back confidently.
  9. Swim through a submerged hoop and retrieve an object.
  10. Use a woggle to scull headfirst using arms only


What you will learn

  1. Answer 4 water safety questions
  2. Push & glide into confident 10m swim
  3. Push & glide or swim, travel through a submerged hoop, retieve an object , return to side
  4. Using a float, kick on front, collect 4 floating objects from pool, return to side
  5. Swim 2m on back, roll over and swim 2m on front, roll over to star float on back
  6. Push & glide on back, kick 2m, tuck and roll, swim back to side on front
  7. Kick 5m on back balancing a toy on a float
  8. Jump in, swim to a raft, climb on and sit down
  9. Jump in, tread water while turning around, swim back to side
  10. Exit pool safely (climb out) leave poolside safely