The answers to these questions are both simple on the surface, but more complex in reality.
Lets look at the first question “How long will it take for my child to learn to swim?” The answer to this question depends on what a persons perception of learning to swim really is. Some parents may feel that being able to ‘dog paddle’ across the pool is sufficient, others will consider being able to swim a few lengths of overarm is acceptable.
In previous articles I have written, along with the message being provided by our team is that children are not considered strong, safe and competent swimmers until they can swim 400 meters of freestyle non stop in good style. For children to enjoy the water throughout their lives, this skill level needs to be achieved as a minimum.
This then leads to the next question, “When is the best time of the year for my child to achieve this?” The answer to this is any time throughout the year.
Often we have families enroll into swimming lessons in October expecting their children to become competent swimmers ready for the upcoming summer. Then at the end of the summer period they cease lessons and return the following October, only to find their child has regressed to where they were the previous year, perhaps even needing to repeat some of the skills as they catch up.
Our advice is that learning to swim well must become a part of your child’s long-term education. It is not as simple as having ten lessons or a term of lessons and expect to master these difficult skills. BREAKS are important in a child’s development of their aquatic education skills, often when we have short breaks, we develop these skills faster and more effectively. This is what I call EFFICIENT AQUATIC EDUCATION.
The best way to achieve efficient aquatic education is to swim regularly throughout the year, punctuated with small breaks. Children are unique and their requirements will be different. Breaks should not be so long, as to inhibit the learning curve for each individual.
The time of the year can also have an impact on efficiency. During the warmer months, more frequent short breaks are beneficial because children may be swimming at school, in the back yard, friend’s houses or at the beach. Any exposure to aquatic activity, so long as it is in a controlled environment and suits the swimmers level will benefit them. In the cooler months, where it is not suitable to swim in the back yard or at the beach, it is more important to have less frequent and shorter breaks from formal aquatic education so that the swimmer can reinforce and further develop their skills in a warm and comfortable environment.
By following our advice, children and families will develop their skills in a very efficient way, saving time and money.
Parents, please feel free to speak with our on deck supervisors at your State Swim school should you have any queries, and we look forward to continuing to provide your family with Efficient Aquatic Education.
Thanks for reading, see you next month.
Christian Urry, Managing Director