The Swim Lesson Breakdown

On the other side of the glass, or in my case at the other end of the pool with my toddler, I've often wondered, "What exactly is she learning down there?" And listening to my mom friends, it sounds like the goal of many is to move their child to the next levels (which is understandable--moving up is a good feeling and no one wants to feel like their child isn't learning!)  But I promise you, there is a reason why they aren't moving up.

Even if your child doesn't take swim lessons, maybe you are curious as to what they should be learning. I thought it might be helpful to take apart each swim skill that is covered in the Junior 1 (the very first level) at Goldfish Swim School. You can see how the skills build upon each other and how you might practice at home.

Let's break it down...

1. Barbell Kicking: The emphasis here is isolating the legs so that they are nice and straight (the barbell supports their arms so they can focus on the legs).

2. Breath Control in underwater dip (10 seconds): Kids are instructed to "hold a bubble" in their mouth. while pulled along and back up when they need to breathe. This extends their endurance and is one more way to practice getting their face in the water.

3. Superman Glide for 5 feet: In the superman glide, kids develop a long body with their eyes down, which is a foundation skill for swimming. In later levels, this develops into the streaming glide and the length is extended.

4. Sea Otter Float: This is taught as a safety skill, reminding children that if they are struggling in the water or need help, to roll on their back where they can breathe and float. Support decreases from torso to head to independence, which as you can see, isn't quite there yet.

5. Octopus front float: This helps develop basic floating techniques, which later lead to rollovers. They are directed to look down at an object that is in the pool and they are supported in the J1 class. In the J2, they are unsupported (which I learned is a HUGE difference, and I'll cover later).

6. Pulling Paddle for 5 feet: Obviously the skill they need to move through the water, but it is harder than it seems. Kids do a lot of flailing and unproductive pulling before they are finally effective. The barbell is given again for isolation, and then they try it on their own.

7. Crab walk (click clacks): I never would have thought to explicitly teach this to my kids, but moving down the wall is a great skill to get them from place to place if they are too worn out to swim or if they've fallen in and need to get to the nearest exit.

8. Climb out: It is such a relief that both of my kids can get out on the wall using the "elbow, elbow, tummy, knee" prompts.

9. Jump, turn, swim to the wall:  And once they climb out, they practice jumping in again and swimming right back to the wall. They are prompted with the question "If you fall in the pool, where would you swim?" (the wall). This is not intuitive to children; it needs to be taught.

10. Rollover front to back: This is how they would get into the sea otter float and also how they learn how to turn their head to breath. See how much support she needs?!

11. Rollover back to front: This one seemed a little more difficult for mine, as she of course preferred her face out of the water. They are learning to maneuver their body and get into swim position (she has just rolled over here).

And of course, adding little games here and there breaks up the routine and makes sure the kids are having fun while learning. As I mentioned, I asked for her to try a J2 skill JUST to see the progression. When Cami even asked her to try the octopus float without help, Larkyn was resistant. And when she did try it, it was not pretty and almost caused tears. This, my friends, is why they need to stay at their level for as long as they need. 

Thank you so much, Miss Cami for explaining it all and taking care of my little fish!


Nana said...

What a great tutorial. Swimming is a lot of work. I am so glad you are providing the kids the opportunity to learn how to swim. Awesome!

Liz said...

Love this post, Stacie!

Ashley said...

Great post! We love Goldfish!

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