The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

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Swim Lesson Basics

How to Teach Swim Lessons for Kids

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
When it comes to teaching swimming lessons, there are some basic guidelines that every experienced swim instructor follows. Whether they do it knowingly or naturally, here are some swim lesson basics that should take place in the process. How to teach kids to swim:

Steps

  1. Safety first. Never turn your back on a beginner. Have a lifeguard or water watcher. Especially if you are teaching a large group, use lifejackets. If teaching a small class of preschoolers(4 or less), use a progressive flotation device).
  2. Show that you care. Warmly welcome every student. Hold their hand and walk them up to the pool. Hold their hand and walk them back to the parents. Tell mom or dad how wonderful they did. This is also a good safety practice, especially if the deck is slippery.
  3. Be prepared. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Always have a Lesson plan with both age appropriate skills and progressions.
  4. Always create a positive environment. First and foremost, the backbone of your approach be positive. Every class should be dominated by smiles and laughter, lots of praise and positive feedback !
  5. Use practical skill progressions. Skills should be broken down from easy to hard, or simple to complex. At Swim Lessons University, we include skill progressions that have been tested and tried right in the laminated swim lessons plans for you
  6. Sandwich “corrections” with complements. Complement, correct, complement. A great technique. At the very least, complement twice as much as you correct.
  7. Teach age appropriate skills. This is all about curriculum and having a good one. Far too often teachers get bored teaching a skill so they jump to something else. Big mistake. Learning is a process, not an event. Go through the progressions and be patient.
  8. Child focused first. Skills second. NEVER put mastering a skill ahead of the child’s well-being and happiness. A child must love to learn first, before he/she can learn to swim. By forcing skills or progressions on a child before he/she is ready, you may turn a child off to swim lessons all together.
  9. Use skill appropriate swim lesson equipment. Kickboards, for example, are wonderful tools. But for three and four year olds especially, you many want to substitute a noodle first and then graduate them to a kickboard once they mastered kicking with the noodle. Kickboards, noodles, and barbells are the primary learn to swim tools I recommend (along with some toys and props for our preschool swim lesson activities).
  10. For preschoolers, use more of an activity-oriented approach. Children 5 and under (especially 3’s & 4’s) NEED a different approach than what is traditionally done for older children. The key with preschoolers is to keep the lesson engaging and redirect their attention by making learning like play.
  11. Praise effort! Children aren’t always going to pick up a new skill. It’s extremely important that we praise effort as well as skill mastery. After all, when a skill comes naturally, children don’t learn lifelong habits like persistence and work ethic. On the other hand, if they have to work for it a little bit and don’t get discouraged, they do learn the invaluable characteristics of determination and perseverance.
  12. Make learning like play. Have fun! If it’s fun, your students will want to come back and develop a life long love affair with the water.
  13. Educate parents on the importance of learning to swim, and at the same time, stress that there is no such thing as drownproofing.
  14. Act like a professional. Dress for success, arrive early, stay on schedule, keep your equipment and props neatly organized on deck (don’t allow stuff to be floating all over the pool), and avoid talking about personal issues.

    Follow these Swim Lessons Basics tips for swimming instructors and earn the respect of everyone you encounter, while you teach a skill that could save a child’s life.

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October 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm
1 comment »
  • August 12, 2011 at 5:07 amCammie

    At last! Someone who unersdtadns! Thanks for posting!

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