Swimming Lessons, Exploration and Water Safety
Most young children love to experiment and explore their surroundings. It plays a huge part in their development and the way they learn about the world around them. This love of experimentation and exploration certainly follows them into each new environment they encounter.
Swimming lessons offer a vast array of new experiences and can send their senses into overdrive. Some things early learners may encounter in swimming lessons include:
- The sensation of water on their skin
- Different temperatures
- New sounds, songs, voices of instructors or other swimmers
- Different toys and swimming equipment
- Bright colours
- New smells
For many young children learning to swim, this sensory overload can be thrilling and exciting. Others may find it overwhelming and frightening. Allowing children to hear what is happening and observe the process before jumping in and starting swimming formal lessons is important to help them find a happy balance, so that learning to swim is an enjoyable experience.
Swimming lessons are great for young children. It can help with learning to follow instructions, working with others and learning important water safety skills. Being able to swim is a gift for life – a skill you will enjoy for a lifetime. A four-year study on infant aquatics by Griffith University found that children who attend swimming lessons are more socially and emotionally prepared for school transition and reach milestones earlier than non-swimmers in the following areas:
- Physical development
- Cognitive development
- Language development
You can learn more about the research findings here
In addition to attending formal swimming lessons, children should be given the opportunity to play and explore in a number of different aquatic environments. This will allow swimmers to build confidence and understand their capabilities and limitations in a wide variety of situations.
It is important to remain vigilant and provide close supervision when children are exploring the water. Better yet, become involved and play games with your swimmers in the water. Allow them experiment in different depths, pools and in open water situations under active supervision.
Talking to children about water safety and dangers they may face in different situations is very important. Make learning about water safety a priority.
Looking for more information?
Learn2Swim Week 2018 is held during the October holidays from October 2 – October 9. It is an inaugural awareness week aimed at educating parents on the importance of teaching kids aged under five to swim. It’s also about reminding everyone about the importance of water safety. For more information visit http://learn2swimweek.com/.
Kids Alive do the Five
With the help of the Australian Government Laurie through his Kids Alive – do the five drowning prevention program has released a water safety pack which has been delivered free to all swim schools registered with AUSTSWIM and Swim Australia. These free resources can be downloaded at no charge via the Kids Alive website at the following link http://www.kidsalive.com.au/early-childhood-program/. Laurie encourages all swim schools to inform families who are attending their centre to log on and get these new water safety resources including animations, e-books and music so that they can continue the water safety education messages at home.
Professional Development Academy
The Professional Development Academy is World Wide Swim School’s dedicated online training platform for teachers. Swim teachers can use these learning programs for upgrade professional development points towards re-accreditation. Learn more here https://worldwideswimschool.com/swim-teachers/.
How do you keep kids interested and engaged in swimming? Share your ideas in the comments below.