Blowing Bubbles and Learning to Float: Making Swim Lessons a Part of Early Childhood Education
Swimming lessons are an important part of early childhood development -- they support independence, making scientific observations, building healthy practices and exhibiting self-confidence. Learning to swim is an important life skill that can benefit a child into adulthood. And the earlier children get comfortable in the water, the easier it can be.
Swimming Lessons at YWCA Children’s Centers
Many of YWCA Children’s Centers offer swimming lessons to children when they are preschool age. The children get very excited when it is their swimming day because they love seeing their swimming instructors and practicing their skills in the water.
Helping Children Feel at Ease in the Water
At YWCA Downtown, swimming lessons are offered once a week during the morning hours of our program. Some of the children are ready to go and jump right in, while others take more time to warm up. YWCA swim instructors are brilliant at using play to engage preschoolers and build relationships so all children are confident and ready to participate each time.
In the last session I observed, one instructor told a child who was afraid to get in the water, “Look at the monkeys on the bottom of the pool! Can you catch the monkeys?” The child thought this was hilarious because, why would there be monkeys on the bottom of the pool? That small moment helped them create a feeling of ease and safety – the child was able to jump in the pool.
Blowing Bubbles, Kicking their Feet and Learning to Float
During swimming lessons, children practice putting their faces in the water and blowing bubbles with their mouths. They practice the beginning concepts of swimming such as kicking their feet and feeling comfortable floating on their backs in the water. Each of these moments help children build their self-confidence and in and out of the water.