Safety, FUN, enjoyment and overall development of the child. Swimming is a life skill.
The main focus of toddler swimming is the correct instruction of children to facilitate water safety and future stroke swimming. This is achieved through a fun,constructive environment with lots of positive encouragement, which facilitates the desire to learn. Early introduction to water leads to a life-long positive relationship with water. Becoming acquainted with submersion may prevent fear and panic when in and around water. Swimming encourages co-ordination, strength and confidence. Being able to swim is a life skill.
Other developmental benefits gained through swimming lessons include:
Motor and Physical Development:
Babies can exercise all muscle groups in water
- Improves and develops posture, good muscle control, tone and balance
- Improves hand/eye and basis of bilateral co-ordination
- Encourages hands to midline, then crossing of midline and eventually bilateral co-ordination
- Improves spatial and body awareness as well as motor planning skills
- Develops self-confidence and encourages independence
- Enhances sensory stimulation in a fun filled atmosphere
- Stimulates and improves cardiovascular fitness
Speech and Language Development:
- Promotes listening, concentration and attention span
- Improves ability to follow instructions
- Improves eye contact
- Improves breath control
- Nursery rhymes improve ability to sequencing skills and sound awareness which aids your child when learning to read.
- Group interaction develops social skills
- Helps to overcome separation anxiety
- Gives your child a sense of accomplishment and achievement
- Fitness is a requisite to happiness
- Bonding with parent/ child care giver
When to learn:
Possibly the best time to teach a child water safety is under the age of 4. This is when there are not so many work, social and time pressures on the family and child. The sooner the child knows how to swim the better. One must not look at a day swimming as a loss on playschool time. The life skill being learned at swimming and the class situation teaches a child social skills, emotional development, sequencing, listening, focus and processing skills.
Physical skills are also developed as mid line is crossed. Body orientation and core muscles are developed. These muscle groups are used in gross and fine motor skills.
Once a child has learnt to swim it is like riding a bicycle. You never forget it. However, the more you are exposed to the environment the more proficient you become in it.
Why swimming is good for children
With the new proposal of for Early Childhood Development (ECD), a child’s safety and a basic proficiency in the water has become even more important. We need to equip young children with skills, knowledge and competencies in an aquatic environment in an ever changing world. Water safety and swimming is an essential life skill.
Factors such as personal safety, ability to get out of difficult situations and confidence in the water are addressed.
With this in mind it is best to get the little ones water safe as soon as possible. Besides it being a lifesaving skill, it grows their overall self-confidence and helps with the question ‘is your child water safe?’ on many application forms.
Getting ones child water safe early will also help with the anxiety of play dates where there is a pool on the property.
Once a child has learnt to swim it is like riding a bicycle. You never forget it. However the more you are exposed to the environment the more proficient you become in it.
The younger the child the better and easier it is to teach a water safety skill set to take forward with them. As a child grows so do family and life pressures. School, work, social and time pressures on the family and child make it difficult to set time aside to teach swimming at a later date. The sooner the child knows how to swim the better. One must not look at a day swimming as a loss on playschool time. The life skills being learnt at a swimming lesson and the class situation teachers’ a child many skills. Interaction in the group, social skills, emotional and sensory development, sequencing, listening, following instructions, focus and processing skills to name but a few.
Focus and sequencing are learnt by preforming requested task/tasks to completion in a group environment.
Social skills, listening and oral processing skills are taught as lessons are age appropriate. Waiting ones turn and sharing are all part of a lesson.
Cognitive – motor planning and body orientation. Teaching the brain in applying a visual or requested activity into action.
Tactile and Vestibular Sensory Systems are all stimulated when swimming.
Physical skills are also developed as mid line is crossed; body orientation and core muscles are developed. These all have an impact on fine motor skills used in writing, pencil control and pressure, sitting endurance and posture helping with focusing in the class room. Following through of an instruction is also achieved. Bilateral Integration and crossing the midline are all achieved through swimming.
Bilateral Integration and sequencing is the ability to use the 2 sides of the body in a smooth and coordinated way. The muscle groups that are used and strengthened are important in developing gross and fine motor skills. This is once again stimulated through swimming. Motor skills are required for everyday bilateral tasks such cutting, writing, threading beads, buttering a sandwich, tying shoelaces etc.
Swimming strengthens postural core strength and endurance which helps with low muscle tone. All round general fitness is achieved. The confidence a child feels and self-worth in mastering an environment that could become threatening is worth the time spent.
Water has general benefits of buoyancy, turbulence and hydrostatic pressure. It offers movement and sensory opportunities not available on land.
A morning at swimming is not only FUN; it is also a good all round educational time well spent.
Swimming is a gateway to such a wide variety of self-growth, healthy pursuits and will become an integral part of one’s future.