|Attitude going into the program - Identify your goals in the beginning; are you looking to instill safety and competency in your children or to jump start competitive skills. To attain these, a certain level of commitment is required on your part. Be prepared to stay with it until those goals are reached. Learning to swim can be demanding but is still extremely fun!Stay The Course; believe you can and what you want will come quickly. Frequency - One lesson per week is typical and effective. Twice a week is, of course, more effective and gets children to their goals more quickly. Older children and the frightened child will advance rapidly with more frequent lessons. Progress is multiplied if the student practices, or parents take their children swimming between lessons. Progress - Expect great things and great things will happen. Your child should noticeably improve on a regular and continuous basis. In this program, children are taught to rely on themselves because they can. The time devoted to learning to swim is well spent when you can see your child growing before your eyes.
Breaks – Very rarely do young children go from no skills to swimming laps without breaks. There are so many skills involved in learning to swim that children will acquire several at a time. When new skills appear, they are reinforced through practice, until the child gains confidence. At certain stages the child’s progress plateaus and occasionally may even appear to regress. These are the times for a break. A few weeks and sometimes even months are needed for the child to grow into their new abilities. I call this re-booting the systems because the plateau they were stuck on will become a launch pad for the acquisition of even greater skills.
Students with Fear - Should take lessons no less than once a week. Typically, a fearful student’s progress is driven by the parent’s conviction, frequency of lessons, the student’s age and the cause of their fear. The older the student the faster swimming comes when their fears are gone. The younger the child the easier it is for them to conquer the fear. Their skills can come immediately or over time, depending on the child’s aptitude. Breaks from lessons would be according to the student’s age and accomplishments. (Adults with fear Please see ‘Big Kids and Adults‘ below).
Children below the age of 6 months - Should be allowed to play and splash while sitting in shallow water as soon as they can sit up, with an adult close by. While bathing, let water trickle over their eyes and faces even if they react adversely. Play it off, make it fun, they will realize it’s harmless. Taking a lesson periodically at this age will aid parents with baby’s introduction to and comfort in the water.
Parent-Tot Plus – This program includes six (6) half-hour lessons, each addressing an individual topic; Introduction to Swimming, The Five Minute Swim Lesson, Stroke Progression, Safety/First-Aid/Common Sense, Climbing Up and Falling Down, Early Childhood Development and Leadership. This course is intended to help the parent understand what their baby can and cannot do, concerns to be aware of and what types of activities they should practice during play time.
Babies 12-24 months - Bring them to participate in a Parent-Tot Plus class (or all six) to learn the skills you will be teaching them. Then take your child swimming, apply what you’ve learned and watch them grow into it. Lessons once or twice a week for 6-12 weeks generally. Extended breaks are recommended and give parents the opportunity to swim and introduce other activities.
Babies 24-36 months - Meant to encourage and expand the child’s skills while raising parent’s expectations. Attend another series of Parent-Tot Plus Classes to transform play activities into real swimming and survival skills. Lessons once or twice a week for 6-12 weeks generally. Extended breaks are typical and give the child a chance to enjoy their new skills. Occasionally, under special circumstances, children of this age may be qualified to attend private lessons without the parent in the water.
Littles 3-4.5 years - Children of this age have a tendency to cling to their parents regardless of their skills and should attend lessons without the parent in the pool. In a private or semi-private lesson I will reinforce survival skills, introduce formal stroke, and build endurance without the limitations of the parent-child dynamic. Lessons once or twice a week should be attended for 4-6 months generally or until goals are reached. Break from lessons at certain plateaus when necessary.
Mediums 4-6 years - The student’s progress at this age is typically quite rapid and is only limited by their own aptitudes and attitudes. They are capable of gaining skills very quickly and are expected to achieve a certain level of competence in swimming freestyle and backstroke. Lessons once or twice a week for as long as necessary or until goals are reached. Breaks from lessons are shorter and vary in length and purpose.
Bigs 5-7 years - Are capable of real form and gain skills with ease, we can expect great things born from their willingness to try. The level of proficiency achieved at this age will probably define the range of any future swimming skills. Duration of lessons will be determined by the reaching of goals. Breaks from lessons are needed only in individual cases.
Big Kids over 7 years and Adults - Are taught concepts that help them understand swimming. One or two lessons will give the student a set of exercises they can practice on their own time. Once skills are achieved they should return for review and the next set of concepts. This process is repeated until goals are reached.
Special Needs students of all ages - Are taught survival skills, locomotion and safety in the water. “Stay the Course” is especially important here. If we believe they can, keep practicing and persevere, almost anything is possible. Students will learn to swim, survive in and overcome the water, and probably learn to love it in the process. The only question is, “how long will it take?”. This can only be determined on an individual basis, but lessons should be attended once or twice a week for as long as necessary. Breaks are typically unnecessary but all cases will be evaluated according to the student’s individual needs.
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