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In infant to preschool program’s classes should be grouped according to growth and development. The child’s development on land will have huge implications on the learn to swim program and determine the suitability of skills to include in the lesson framework.
One children turn 4 years of age and above children should be grouped by ability level. Homogenous grouping creates the ideal teaching and learning environment. Teachers can develop a lesson plan that’s appropriate for everyone in the group, give equal attention to all, ensure maximum practice time in the lesson and avoid behavioural distractions during class.
Before swimmers commence they should be assessed by teachers so that they can be scheduled into an appropriate class. This should be done outside of formal lessons to avoid class disturbances.
Rings are great to incorporate into the swimming lesson. We use these to maintain infant’s grasp reflex, build strength and enhance their general physical development.
Up until five or six months, infant’s love to lie on their back in the water. Once they can sit up they seem to want to discard this skill. A floating mat can be introduced to give the infant the opportunity to lie and relax on their backs. Most infant’s even love to crawl along the mat to mum. This fosters independence and adventure.
A good lesson plan should consist of:
- Warm up
- The main body of skills
- Any new skills
- A conclusion or final activity
The teacher remains central to the class to ensure they can see all children whilst keeping the class moving. The teacher moves from individual to individual keeping them moving, correcting and encouraging both the children and the parents.
A ledge can be made out of many things. Try using;
- Someone’s body
- Deck level pool
Be creative – use what you can to make the child’s swimming experience interesting and fun. Ledges are a great way to encourage independence so try to improvise if you do not have access to one.
Ideally, we want the children to be able to turn unaided by 18 months. If children are just joining your program, it may take some time for infant to turn without assistance. Remind the parents to not force or hurry their child. With time, practice, and patience the child will soon learn.
Although we regard water as the main stimulant, it is important that you as a teacher are well equipped with other items to make your swimming lesson stimulating and fun. Keep in mind we want to continue educating the children via their senses- specifically sight, sound, and touch.
You need a:
- Coloured cup
- Large, colourful, appropriate toys
- Floating rubber mat
Wearing a loose t-shirt in the water will give the baby something to grip and hold on to. This is very important for encouraging independence in the child. It is important to maintain the infant’s natural grasp reflex and build their independence and self-confidence. Independence may one day save a child’s life. Explain this to the parents.
WWSS has been designed to share Laurie Lawrence’s world-renowned teaching philosophies and program’s for teaching swimming. Laurie’s program is unique in that he has progressed raw beginners to medals at the Olympic Games. Laurie is recognised as an international expert on teaching babies through learn to swim and stroke development.
Laurie is an Australia water safety advocate and has operated swim schools in Australia since 1966. He is passionate about lifting the standard of the learn to swim industry through professional development. Laurie wants to share his knowledge via interactive learning, video streaming, high-level articles, lesson plans, live events, newsletters and more.
Both online platforms can help you reach the specific goals for your Swim School through the comprehensive online training modules, lesson plans for every age group and a load of resources, including video skill based resources, important articles and links.
But it doesn’t stop there – Laurie and the team will be adding new resources every month and continually develop new modules to help develop your teachers’ skills to a high level.
You will be given access to an easy to use management interface that you can access from any device and allocate training to staff, track their progress, view multiple reports and export valuable information about their knowledge.
With one platform you will be able to have access to all the latest teaching methodologies from Laurie Lawrence and also upload and create your own training manuals, procedures manuals and visual video training and have it all hosted in the cloud, no more paper-based training.
Your staff will be able to do their training from anywhere or you can use the platform to do your group training.
According to Fair Work Ombudsman, it depends whether or not you are advising your employees that the training is optional for them to complete, or if their attendance is compulsory.
For further information follow this link https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay
- We believe the best time to start formal learn to swim lessons is at 4 months of age.
- By four months parents are relaxed handling baby, the baby has good neck control and baby is interested in new and exciting situations.
- We encourage parents to start informal swimming lessons from birth.
- During bath time lessons parents can introduce baby to the conditioning process that we use to teach the baby breath control on command. If you haven’t started early with your child don’t worry.
- Regular exposure to the water is the key in teaching children to swim.
Wearing a loose t-shirt in the water will give your baby something to grip and hold. This encourages independence and maintains baby’s grasp reflex. This independence may one day save your baby’s life.
Cups are important as they allow us to continue the conditioning process we use in the bath in the pool. There is no chance of a plastic cup breaking in the pool.
Toys are incorporated into the lesson to make it fun and stimulating. Remember 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 increase stimulation.
- Rattles: Rattles are ideal to distract baby if they ingest water or get upset in the pool. If baby cries during the lesson calm them while in the pool. If parents get out of the pool, the baby will associate crying with getting out of the pool.
- Watering cans: By pouring water we can excite and stimulate baby’s senses. This helps them relax and builds their confidence around water.
Goggles are not a necessity, however, they may help if children have sensitive or sore eyes. With goggles, it is important that children do not become reliant on them. This means leaving goggles at home every second week or only allowing children to wear goggles for half the lesson.
Remember children need to learn to swim without goggles for safety reasons e.g. if they fall in.
Force and fear have no place in the teaching of swimming and water safety. Therefore, if your child is crying and upset when performing specific swimming skills e.g. during back floating, stop immediately.
Always try to determine what is making the child upset. Are they hungry? Are they tired? Are they cold? Did they swallow some water? Once you know what the problem is then it is a lot easier to fix it. For instance, you may simply need to feed them at a suitable time before they have their lesson or you may need to put a sun shirt on the baby to keep them warm.
Another way to stop a baby crying is through distraction. Toys are excellent stimulants and great distractions for babies. Noise is also great for distraction e.g. tapping a cup on the side of the pool. Importantly talking, soothing, and reassuring your baby is vital for them to feel comfortable and at ease.
Finally, if your baby cries avoid getting out of the water. Try to comfort the baby while still in the pool. If you get out of the pool every time the baby cries then they are going to associate being upset with getting out of the pool.
First and foremost, you need to determine what is frightening your child:
- Have they had a bad experience?
- Have you unintentionally scared them (e.g. saying things like “don’t go near the pool edge you’ll hurt yourself”)?
The importance of your child feeling into control:
- One of the most common reasons for children to become scared is lack of control.
- For a child to be in control in the water they need shallow water.
- They need to be able to either sit on a ledge or stand up on the bottom of the pool by themselves. When they are doing this they are in control.
- If you are holding your child in deep water they are not in control, you are. Therefore playing in a pool that is shallow or on a ledge is essential for the frightened beginner.
Build up their confidence:
- Once they have built up their confidence in the shallow you can gradually introduce them to the deeper water.
- This can be done through reassuring your child that you are there with them and through setting small tasks for your child to accomplish. For example, letting them play on the ledge and then saying let’s go and touch the lane rope (out in the deep) and then we’ll come straight back and play on the ledge. Slowly but surely your child will build confidence.
- Remember if your child is frightened to go very slowly as all it takes is patience and time with frightened children. Regular exposure is also very important for the frightened beginner. Parents should commit to taking their child to the pool on consecutive days until they observe their child relaxing in the environment.
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