Teaching a class of 4 to 8 month old baby’s

In the 4-8 month old age group what we are trying to achieve is good breath control and starting teaching them independence. If by the time they are 8 months old they can float happily underwater, with their eyes open, they can maintain a grasp reflex and pull themselves up, if they can sit up on the side of the pool unaided we have achieved quite a bit.

One of the most important lessons teachers can learn is how to properly structure the class utilising the correct skills and being able to communicate effectively with the parents by maintaining a position of strength in the water.

Learning to swim should be a positive experience for both parent and child.

There are a number of skills that you need to understand and learn how to teach important elements of the learn to swim process.

Here are 5 important skills that you need to learn to help your teaching;

  • The importance of a warm up
  • Keys points of introducing main skills
  • Building Independence
  • Breath Control
  • Floating Tips for teachers

Now take a look at this short video to give you an overview of what you need to Know!

Well done, that is the first step to being better prepared and equipped with the knowledge and skills to assist your little one through to becoming a confident and happy little swimmer.

To feel confident yourself with the knowledge required to achieve these goals, let me show you how to

 

learn more

 

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Learn to Swim

Teaching 3-4 year olds swimming classes

This age group needs a lot of manipulative work to get those fine motor skills well coordinated. Keep the parents in the water that way the children are going to get a good half hour swimming lesson.

Preparing for lessons without parents

In order to get a smooth transition from the parent and child swim classes to children being in on their own have sections of the lesson where the children are given activities without the parents help. During these periods where you have no parental assistance it is important to be well organised and maintain good class discipline so that the children learn to listen and follow instructions. A good instructor will group the class close together and position themselves so that they are easily seen by all students. By using one of the class to demonstrate it makes it easier for the class to understand exactly what has to be done.

One of the most important lessons teachers can learn is how to properly structure the class utilising the correct skills and being able to communicate effectively with the parents by maintaining a position of strength in the water.

Learning to swim should be a positive experience for both parent and child.

There are a number of skills that you need to understand and learn how to teach important elements of the learn to swim process.

Here are 4 important skills that you need to learn to help your teaching;

  • Communication with all the children
  • Use the parents as assistant teachers
  • Keep active when teaching
  • Keep communicating and encouraging

Now take a look at this short video to give you an overview of what you need to Know!

Well done, that is the first step to being better prepared and equipped with the knowledge and skills to assist your little one through to becoming a confident and happy little swimmer.

To feel confident yourself with the knowledge required to achieve these goals, let me show you how to

 

learn more

 

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Watch Laurie take a group of frightened beginners for their first class Now!!!!

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Building Breath Control in the Water

Breath control is an essential element in the learn-to-swim process. By teaching children breathe control we make first submersion free from fuss and trauma. Teaching breath control to babies from 0-2 years is best done by conditioning. Here we prepare baby for their first under water experience by conditioning them to react and hold their breath in response to the verbal conditioning trigger, “Ready go!”

Because the water runs quickly, smoothly and evenly down the forehead, baby should not ingest any water. With daily practice baby will soon react positively to these “trigger words” by being happy and confident with water on the face and closing their eyes on the trigger. Once the teacher or parent notices this positive reaction, baby is ready for their first submersion.

By two years of age teaching breath control by conditioning becomes less effective. While some children may still accept the conditioning process others will protest. This protest occurs because at this age children understand a lot more about their environment and are starting to form their own opinions, ideas and fears.

At this age children need to participate voluntarily in breath control activities. They can follow instructions and need to be encouraged to put their faces underwater. Importantly, a child’s head must never be held or forced underwater.

Once children have mastered breath control and are happy with their submersions we can extend the time that is spent underwater. In the initial conditioning, the water runs quickly over the face. When trying to extend the breath control and teach babies to hold their breath for longer periods of time the parent or teacher can practise a slow long pour over the face.

For best practise use the trigger words, pour the water on top of the forehead and as you pour count 1 2 3. Then repeat again and pour for the count of 1 2 3 4, and again for the count of 1 2 3 4 5. By building the skill in this way it will be easier to perform submersions for the count of 3, 4 and 5 seconds. As children grow with age we can instruct them to submerge their face and keep it underwater for the count of 5 to 10 seconds. Once again we are building the swimming skills. Always remember that we should never forcibly submerge any child as this will cause discomfort and distress. Swimming should be a happy and positive experience for both parent and child.
Laurie Lawrence

 

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Swim Lesson Planning

Lesson planning is of utmost importance for teachers and should be carried out regularly to assist learning and to develop progressive teaching skills.

 

The teaching methods set down by World Wide Swim School follow a simple progressive learning/teaching curve from Babies through to Squad swimming. Progressive teaching methods must always be considered when lesson planning.

 

Lesson planning will promote the development of teaching skills so that teachers follow the methods set down, and thus making sure lesson plans are suited to the appropriate lesson of each individual class rather than duplicating lesson plans that are inappropriate for class ability levels.

  •  Always begin by assigning a class level, time and date to the form. This will be able to be used as a reference at a later date.
  •  Skills Warm Up – this is the opening stage of the lesson and should be used for relevant revision of previous lesson drills. E.g. kicking and breathing skills.
  •  Skill Development – this will form the main part of the lesson and should be used for introduction and development of major skill development. E.g. Introduction of high elbow recovery, using six kicks change drills no breathing, and developing strong kicking action by practicing variation kicking drills.
  •  Main Points – this section can be used to record set terminology or important points worth emphasising with the class involved.
  •  Final Activity – all lessons should finish on a high note so that the child leaves the centre having enjoyed their time in the swimming lesson. Be sure to finish with a constructive, enjoyable final activity, followed by positive praise for all.
  •  Names – record the names of class members, as this will assist in memory retention of all class members – an important teaching tool for a more personal approach to teaching.

 

Enjoy yourself and the achievements of the children you are teaching. They are depending on you to teach them a skill which will last a lifetime.

Laurie Lawrence

 

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Swimming Class Control

Disruptive student behaviour is a threat to learning, especially in the learn to swim environment where teachers have a small window of time to teach such an important life skill. Laurie has put together 5 tips for class control to help teachers establish a productive learning environment.

1. Establish Class Focus

Do not try to teach the lesson or instruct a new skill before every child has their focus on you. Teachers will have to establish class focus at the start and throughout the duration of the lesson while they progress from skill to skill. It’s very important the teachers learn the student names. Use light and shade in your voice to maintain interest while you speak.

 

2. Communicate clearly

Remember be simple and clear with your instruction. Do not use long sentences or give too many directions at once. Use nonverbal cues including facial expressions, body language and hand signals to assist with your verbal directions.

 

3. Use positive language

Teachers should put the emphasis on what they want the children to do instead of what they don’t want them to do. For example, walk around the pool instead of do not run around the pool. Or, stand and look at me, instead of stop jumping underwater when I’m talking. Use positive praise and acknowledge good work when you see it.

 

4. Be Organised

Make sure you have planned your lesson. This will make you more confident in your delivery and allow you to keep your class on track. Effective planning will also help you to deliver progressive learning experiences while challenging the class. Importantly, lesson planning helps maintain the interest of the class and avoids teachers reverting to a basic lesson experience. Ensure your lesson starts and finishes on time. This will encourage people to be punctual to your class.

 

5. Be fair and consistent

Establish class rules and expectations and follow through with consequences. Make sure that parents and students understand the class rules and what the consequence is for inappropriate behaviour. Avoid getting angry, yelling and using unnecessary threats. Instead, be alert and move around the group checking for and praising good behaviour. This praising of good behaviour will encourage others to follow suit.
 

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Water Confidence – For Timid Beginners

Water Confidence – For Timid Beginners

To become happy and confident in the water children need to be in control. For a 2 to 3 year old to truly be in control they require shallow water. This means utilising ledges, ramps, steps, even children’s play pools. It is silly to rush the process and expect children to be comfortable in deep water straight away. By giving children the opportunity to independently sit, play and explore in shallow water, we will not only leave them in control, but importantly we will teach them a respect for the water as they learn the difference between deep and shallow.

Enhance the learning experience for your child by surrounding them with a variety of stimulus. This will make the lesson fun and interesting and will also relax your child as they become more familiar with their new playground – the watery environment.

Summary 
• Children need to be in control to feel safe and secure in the water
• Shallow water exploration not only puts children in control but teaches them a respect for the water as they learn the difference between deep and shallow
• Enhance the leaning experience by incorporating a variety of stimulus

Once children are totally comfortable in shallow water, then we can encourage them to experiment in the deep with parent or teacher. We do this by outstretching our arms and encouraging them to independently jump. Outstretching our arms allows the child to feel secure and again the child is in control because they initiate the jump.
It is important not to pick children up and force them off the ledge. If we do, then children lose control and can become intimidated and scared. It is also important
that we do not move when we are encouraging children to jump. If we move then we lose the child’s trust. Losing trust can be extremely detrimental to the learn-to-
swim process.

Summary 
• Children must be totally comfortable in shallow water before we take them into deep water
• Children must not be forced into deep water, they need to initiate jumping to an adult so they remain in control
• Allow children to feel secure by outstretching arms and maintain trust by not moving backwards

We can expand the deep water orientation through cuddle kicks. Cuddle kicks are great as children are nestled in close to the teacher or parent giving them that feeling of security. Children are also outstretched in the horizontal swimming position allowing them to feel the waters buoyancy. Furthermore adults have an opportunity to manipulate and encourage the correct kicking action.

Step to cuddle kick 
1) Outstretch arms and encourage child to jump
2) Put child’s hands over your shoulders
3) Place hands under child’s knees
4) Place thumbs on back of child’s calf
5) Move legs up and down in the kicking action
6) Say kick kick kick
7) Walk backwards

As children’s confidence grows and they are happy with cuddle kicks and jumping to adults, you can teach them to jump to the ledge.  Children usually feel much more comfortable jumping to the ledge because it is a solid object and the child knows it can not move. In the initial stages do not submerge the child. Simply place them over the ledge allowing them to pull themselves up.

Parents and teachers can now do repeated practice of jumping to adults, cuddle kicks and jumping back to the ledge. Children of this age thrive on repetition. It is great for their confidence because they know what’s coming and it’s great for their development as practice makes perfect.

Parents and teachers should take this opportunity to use the teaching axiom show practice. On the way over we manipulate the legs showing the correct kicking action. On way back we keep the hands under the knees but let the child kick independently.

This show practice and regular manipulation is vital for the correct mastery of this skill. Children who receive regular manipulation get certain nerves pathways formed that assist their fine motor co-ordination. This allows them to master the skill long before those who have not received this manipulation.

Remember the more children practise the more relaxed and comfortable they will become in the water. And once they are comfortable and relaxed, they will learn very very quickly. For this reason we must be mindful to go slow during the initial stages. Never force or hurry your child. This will only hinder the learn-to-swim process. Slow and steady will truly win the race with this age group.

Summary 
• Children are often more comfortable with jumping to the ledge because it is a solid object and children know it will not move
• Do not submerge child when jumping to the ledge
• Simply put them over the ledge and let them pull themselves up
• Participate in “show practice” as this will help in the mastery of swimming skills
• Remember slow and steady will win the race
 

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Learn to Swim

Swimming Teaching Equipment

Swimming Teaching Equipment

Although we regard water as the main stimulant, it is important that you are equipped with other items to make your child’s swimming lesson stimulating and fun. Keep in mind we want to continue educating your baby via their senses- specifically sight, sound and touch.

You need a
• T-shirt
• Coloured cup
• Large, colourful, appropriate toys
• Rings
• Floating rubber mat

Why wear a T-Shirt?
Wearing a loose t-shirt in the water will give your baby something to grip and hold on to. This is very important for encouraging independence in the child. It is important to
maintain baby’s natural grasp reflex, and build their independence and self confidence. Independence may one day save your baby’s life.

Why a coloured plastic cup?
Cups are important as they allow us to continue the conditioning process in the swimming pool. It is important we use a plastic cup to avoid breakages. Cups can also be used as a sound stimulus to distract baby or get their attention by tapping the cup on the side of the pool.

Coloured Cups 
– used for conditioning
– won’t break in pool
– great for stimulation of sight
– great for distraction – can be used to tap and make noise

Why Do I Need Coloured Toys?
Toys are used in the swimming lessons for stimulation, distraction and education. It is important to remember that toys should have a swimming related purpose.

Balls
Large colourful balls are perfect for stimulation and great for babies to chase when doing assisted and unassisted kicking. Balls of different textures hard, soft or rippled will
increase stimulation.

Rattle 
Rattles are ideal to shake and distract baby if they ingest water or get upset in the pool

Watering cans  
By pouring water we can excite and stimulate baby’s senses.  This should be done at home in the bath tub and during the swimming lesson.  The sensation that warm water provides is great for baby’s touch sense and helps to relax and calm baby.  Being relaxed and calm in the water is important. Once baby is relaxed they feel confident, secure and become at home in the water.

Rings
Coloured rings or fish are great to maintain baby’s natural grasp reflex. By getting baby to hold on we can build baby’s physical strength and increase their muscle tone.

Floating Mats 
Up until five or six months babies love to lie on their back in the water. However once babies can sit up they seem to want to discard this skill.  A floating mat gives baby the opportunity to lie and relax on their backs. Once physically capable babies also love to crawl along the mat, this fosters adventure and independence as well as improving mobility.
 

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Hints for Beginner Swim Teachers

Hints for Beginner Teachers

Teaching tools are the tools that teachers use to facilitate learning. They are not only material tools such as kick boards or pull buoys, but also physical tools that teachers utilise in order to become a successful instructor.

The following are physical Teaching Tools:

  • Lesson Planning
  • Simple Instructions
  • Visual Demonstrations
  • Maximum Practice Time
  • Class Control
  • Positive Reinforcements
  • Identifying Children By Name
  • Voice Control
  • Eye Contact
  • Maintaining Enthusiasm
  • Continual Positive Feedback

Why are these Teaching Tools important?

Lesson Planning

  • Encourages effective teaching, provides information for further training

Simple Instructions

  • Enable children to understand complex actions in a clear, simple manner

Visual Demonstrations

  • Enhance the learning capabilities of a child

Maximum Practice Time

  • Aids in the faster acquisition of skills

Class Control

  • Helps maintain the ‘flow’ of the lesson

Positive Reinforcements

  • Encourage children to improve and continue to try

Identification By Name

  • Creates a more personal teaching environment

Voice Control

  • Provides stimulus which enhances the quality of the lesson

Eye Contact

  • Provides visual cues and feedback to the class

Enthusiasm

  • Creates stimulating learning environment for all

Continual Feedback

  • Allows children to practice and repeat skills correctly

 

Hints for beginner teachers

  • Be ENTHUSIASTIC
  • PLAN the lesson
  • DEMONSTRATE skills and drills
  • Teach ONE skill at a time
  • Identify children by NAME
  • Involve ALL children in activity
  • Keep instructions SIMPLE
  • Maintain eye CONTACT
  • Use your VOICE well
  • Provide instant POSITIVE feedback
  • Maintain good CLASS CONTROL
  • Encourage MAXIMUM practice time

 
 

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Encouraging Swimming Independence

Encouraging Swimming Independence

Teaching your child independence is very important. Children are curious and learn through their own exploration. Personal exploration often teaches children their boundaries.

Even from a very young age babies can learn boundaries. Your baby will learn the differences between deep and shallow water and they will gain a respect for the water as they learn their limitations.

How do we encourage independence? 
– Wearing a T- shirt in the pool
– Allowing shallow water exploration
– Allowing crawling, sitting and playing in shallow water
– Incorporating bath time activities nightly
– Utilising floating mats

T-shirts 
T-shirts are great for encouraging independence as children begin to hold on and support their own body weight. Babies soon learn that if they don’t hold on they will go
under water.   Parents can also make a ledge with their body by leaning back and allowing the baby to balance on the chest while holding onto the shirt. This is great bonding and great for independence.

Shallow Water Learning 
Giving your baby the opportunity to sit up and play independently in shallow water is fantastic. Shallow water provides your baby with a haven to splash and play. Sitting in the water will also be great for baby’s balance. Remember there is no safe place for children in the water unless they are being supervised.

Crawling/Exploring 
As your baby develops physically and begins to crawl and stand they will become increasing curious on the ledge. They will love to use their new found freedom to
move and explore the shallow water. This is an important milestone in your child’s development as they are gaining true independence, learning a respect for deep and shallow water and in turn learning their boundaries.

Bathtub Independence
Parents should continue to use the bath to foster and nurture independence.
• Allow baby to play in shallow water
• Encourage baby to splash and enjoy the stimulus of water
• Practice back float in deep and shallow water
• Utilise tummy time
• Practice conditioning daily in the bath
Warning! Children should never be left unsupervised in the bath tub. They require adult supervision at all times. Always empty bath water immediately after use.

Floating Mats 
Floating rubber mats are also great to develop baby’s independence. These teaching aids give baby the freedom to;
• Crawl
• Back Float
• Grip objects and build strength while laying on the mat
• Partake in tummy time
Warning! Never leave baby unattended on a floating mat. Floating devices should never be used instead of adult supervision.
 

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Swim Teaching Image

Swimming Teachers Role in Health and Safety

Swimming teachers must understand their role in providing quality learn to swim lessons that ensure the health and safety of children and parents. The following article outlines important things for swimming teachers to consider.

Swimming teachers should not only ensure that the environment that they are teaching in is safe, but ensure that they educate parents of young children on how to provide a safe swimming environment for children outside of the swimming lesson.

ADULT SUPERVISION

Adult supervision within arm’s reach is essential for preschool children and non swimmers. Even once children become independently mobile in the water parents and caregivers must always ensure that they are actively supervising children and are in a position to respond if necessary.

Laurie Lawrence believes that parents should remain in the learn-to-swim lesson with their child until they turn 4 years of age. This means that children have the one on one attention of an adult and also receive maximum practice time within the lesson which leads to faster skill acquisition.

WATER QUALITY AND WATER TEMPERATURE

As a swimming teacher we must ensure that we are conducting swimming lessons in water which meets national water quality regulations and guidelines.

For this reason it is recommend that teachers consult the pool plant manager prior to the commencement of daily lessons, or have a system in place with the pool plant manager, whereby teachers are notified when the water quality or environment is not suitable to conduct swimming lessons. Teachers can also educate parents on identifying pools with poor water quality and not swimming in them.

The ideal water temperature for teaching babies and toddlers is 32 degrees Celsius. It is reasonable to assume that this temperature will fluctuate up and down a degree or two. For this reason teachers must be prepared to look for signs that babies and toddlers are getting hot or cold and adapt the lesson accordingly.

In cooler water temperature teachers should encourage parents to stay low in the water with their child, keep the class moving, position class to avoid wind factors and adapt the lesson duration. Importantly teachers should understand that there are risks associated to pregnant women in water temperature above 34 degrees Celsius.

TEACHING EQUIPMENT AND POOL SURROUNDS

Teachers must ensure that any teaching equipment that is used within the swimming lesson is in good working order. This equipment may include toys, kick-boards, pull buoys, noodles, floating mats and movable teaching tables or ledges.

Equipment that fills up with water and is not properly drained poses a health risk to students’, particularly babies and toddlers as they put things into their mouth. All teaching equipment should be regularly disinfected and examined for deterioration.

Teachers must also ensure that their teaching equipment is positioned in a way that does not pose a tripping or slipping hazard to customers or work colleagues. Furthermore teachers should remember to educate parents on potential dangers around equipment including, children accidentally falling into pools while reaching for toys which have been left floating on the surface or getting stuck under floating mats or suspended objects in the pool.

Teachers should also survey the pool and surrounds daily to identify potential risks and take action to eliminate or control these risks to their customers or work colleagues.

For example risks may include slippery surrounds on the pool deck or in the change rooms, broken pool tiles, or cleaning chemicals not stored correctly. Teachers should ensure that they notify management of any potential risks they identify and take immediate action to rectify the situation.

In an event where there is an accident around the pool or during the swimming lesson, teachers should ensure they have completed an accident report form in detail immediately following the event.

WEATHER CONDITIONS AND APPROPRIATE DRESS

Weather conditions will be particularly relevant for those teachers delivering lessons in an outdoor facility. Rain, wind and sun, are just some of the environmental factors that these teachers will need to address. Teachers should encourage parents to apply sunscreen to themselves and their children prior to the commencement of the lesson while leaving adequate time for the cream to sink into the skin.

Well fitted swimming rash vests or sun-suits are also encouraged as they provide additional protection from the sun and wind. Finally children who are not toilet trained must be wearing tight fitted swim nappies to avoid accidents in the pool.

Teachers themselves should model sun safety practices by wearing sunscreen, hats, long sleeve rash vests, and sunglasses. Please visit www.sunsmart.com.au for detailed information on sun safety. Dehydration is a particular health risk for teachers themselves when operating in an outdoor venue.

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and watch for initial signs and symptoms including thirst, skin flushing, dry mouth, fatigue and dizziness. Some teachers may also find they need to wear a steamer or wetsuit while teaching swimming as they are in the water for extended periods of time and feel cold by the end of their teaching shift. Teachers should also be aware of the signs of hypothermia including, uncontrollable shaking, difficulty speaking and unclear thoughts.

CONSENT FORMS AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Prior to the commencement of lessons parents/caregivers should complete an enrollment form for their child and family which lists, emergency contact details, medical history or conditions, a consent to participate and relevant student information including learning considerations. Teachers should then utilise this form when developing their lesson plans so that they can implement effective teaching practices and risk management strategies.

For example teachers may identify students with asthma, epilepsy or hearing impairments. Each student will have different needs and therefore teachers must communicate with parents about their child’s specific needs and the best way to address them.

In the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety manual, teachers can find some useful information on medical considerations and criteria for exclusion of students who are unwell. Generally speaking children, parents or teachers who have diarrhoea, vomiting, high temperatures or unusual rashes should not participate in swimming lessons. Before recommencing lessons, teachers should encourage parents/caregivers to seek professional medical advice.

EMERGENCY PREPARATION AND APPROPRIATE ACTIVITIES

Teachers must ensure they maintain a current CPR certification. CPR must be updated every 12 months. It is also recommended that teachers extend their training with an advanced first aid course. In doing so teachers will learn how to recognise and respond to common life threatening injuries or illnesses and be more prepared if these circumstances arise.

Teachers should also communicate with their colleagues and be familiar with their workplace emergency action plan. This often involves reviewing these measures at staff meetings and practicing scenarios during lessons.

Teachers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their class. For this reason teachers should take a roll call at the beginning and end of their class and continue to actively monitor their students throughout the duration of the lesson. Teachers must also plan activities that are safe for their students to participate in.

For example teaching children to dive in shallow water is extremely dangerous and could result in a spinal cord injury. It is advised that teachers educate parents and students on the importance of checking water depths, reading pool signage and never diving into water at the beach, river or lake as there is often hidden rocks, logs or debris which may cause injury.

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