Swimming lessons are the perfect place to give your child some fundamental skills before starting school. Our parents say that not only do swimming lessons teach our child to be safer in, on and around water, but they also teach life skills such as building confidence through self-starting, taking turns and self-soothing when a challenge arises.
Starting school can be an emotional time for you and your child. The transition from the old routine into the new can be challenging for the whole family. New environments and new people can be overwhelming for some children.
If you are currently in swimming lessons, maintaining consistency is the key for confidence and security of the current routine. If you are new to swimming, here are some key factors to help your child in preparation for school that can start now.
Research conducted by Griffith University confirms early introduction to swimming lessons prepares children for school in social, emotional, cognitive and physical abilities. Lead researcher Professor Robyn Jorgensen said, “The children were anywhere from six to 15 months ahead of the normal population when it came to cognitive skills, problem solving in mathematics, counting, language and following instructions.”
Our Rackley Swimming program incorporates mathematical skills of counting, listening to instructions, taking turns recognising shapes and colours, all which increase the confidence for the classroom learning environment. The routine of structured lessons gives children the security to predict outcomes and expectations of their performance.
Here are the benefits swimming lessons have on your child’s first year of school. The skills identified for ‘school readiness’ all align with the skills and behaviours in swimming lessons.
Social skills – taking turns, engaging with other children and adults through play is the best way a child can be introduced to socialising with others.
Meeting friends in swimming lessons is all part of their social engagement. Children copying and modelling other children is necessary for their learning environment and respectful behaviour of others and the water. Our professional swim teachers encourage effort, participation, and support the challenges of learning new skills.
Emotional maturity – New environments can be overwhelming. Our teacher’s approach is consistent and dependable. We understand and acknowledge your child’s emotions are real. Self-regulation to manage emotions when attempting a new skill is always embraced with a shared approach by the swim teacher. When they look a little unsure, we give them time to process the situation and then ‘we do it together’.
Managing uncertainty and understanding the specific needs of your child requires parent support. Establishing trust with a teacher is vital for their social skills as well as making new friends at school. Creating trust with the swim teacher and regularly seeing them before school starts, creates a pattern of trust and self-confidence.
Language skills – counting, responding to questions, and expressing emotions verbally increase sentence building, numerous and literacy skills. Not only do teachers communicate through language, but also through demonstration, singing and visual aids.
Cognitive skills – understanding, interpreting and responding to an action is incorporated in every communication exchange at swimming. It may be demonstrating, speaking or facial expressions. Our teachers are trained to adjust their delivery for each child to meet their unique learning style.
Physical health and coordination – Breathing in and floating, kicking and moving arms through the water is the foundation of gross motor skill development. Coordination increases every time a skill is attempted. Play is essential for your child’s physical development. Swimming has unique benefits. The pressure of the water increases a range of health benefits, strengthening muscles, lungs, brain function and gross motor movement in a low impact environment.
Independence – this is the best skill of all. We love children who achieve. We celebrate every small success. As a result, the confidence gained through new experiences, resonates into their world away from the pool.
Parent advice – listen to your child. Each child develops at their own pace. If you are new to swimming lessons, talk to your child about the pool environment, the teacher will guide your child every step of the way.
Children have two ears! Children hear most adult conversations. (They don’t filter out the adult conversations with child conversations – they hear it all!). Relaying your child’s fears to a teacher in front of them could inadvertently be reinforcing their fears. So, if your child says they don’t want to put their head under the water, we never say “You don’t have to”. This confirms their fears that swimming could be an unpleasant experience. Instead, use positive language ‘your teacher will play games together with you’.
Reassure your child you will be nearby watching them every step of the way! Children need a circle of security surrounding them to have the confidence to approach new environments.
Parents are often unaware of the difference between a primary school offering swimming lessons and a swim school. For those starting school with limited swimming skills or experiencing swimming for the first time, here are some facts.
- The structure is different. The numbers are larger in a school swimming program. Rackley swimming programs for our younger swimmers are 3 or 4 to one teacher ratio. School swimming sizes can be 8 to 1 ratio.
- The school swimming program usually offers the basic skills and encourages children more revision and retention of current skills.
- Children are rapidly growing in the first five years of life. It makes sense for your child to experience all-year-round swimming during these developmental stages where there is constant “catching up” of body with brain. Consistent attendance to lessons is the best way to give children confidence.
Rackley Swimming conducts both school swimming and all year round classes. However for our young new start swimmers, we recommend the best start to swimming is in a smaller group and continual lessons all year round. Our qualified and specifically trained teachers understand a range of ages, stages and ensuring each child is welcomed and given time to engage at their own pace with nurture and kindness.
Now is the best time to start!
Start before school goes back. Establishing a routine, one activity at a time allows your child to adjust to a new environment and routine step by step. This sets one piece of the weekly routine in place in preparation for the addition of other changes.
We understand families have busy routines. Choose a time and location that suits your family schedule and your child. Rushing to classes is detrimental to a confident and calm start to the lesson.
We have a range of lesson times to suit your family. Before school, after school, Saturdays and Sundays are all options available across our swim schools.
Additionally, we offer adult swimming lessons to cater to individuals of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refine your swimming technique, we have dedicated instructors ready to guide you through the learning process.