The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Private Swimming Lesson Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Have you ever taught a private swimming lesson? Have you ever needed a couple activities in your back pocket to add some fun and variety to the lesson?  Here’s a couple quick ideas that you could try in your toddler or preschool swim lessons:

While these aren’t regular activities that are part of our curriculum, they are certainly great “fillers” that can keep your private swim lessons fun and upbeat, or something you can throw in for a change of pace.  As you could see, this little toddler absolutely loved “The Motorboat Song” and the little tosses up in the air!

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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October 27, 2016 at 1:51 am Comments (0)

The Art of Teaching Children to Swim

The art of teaching children to swim means that sometimes you have to be creative, independent, spontaneous, practical, and even rule-bending.  In the end, it’s about what works best, what engages your students  the most.  One of the easiest ways you can make learning fun for young learners is to tap into their imagination.  Research from the John Hopkins School of Education illustrates the significant benefits from tapping into the imagination as it also stimulates a calming effect on a child’s emotions.  How is this instrumental to those of us teaching preschoolers that are non-swimmers (Swim 101)?

This calming effect turns on more circuits between “the feeling and thinking brain,” and integrates the right prefrontal lobe’s direct responses to emotions with the left prefrontal lobe’s ability to regulate these emotions. This allows the brain’s CEO to do its’ job, helping the child:

•         better control his or her impulses

•         manage negative emotions such as fear and frustration

•         soothe or comfort his or herself

•         move out of defensive behaviors

When you teach the Swim Lessons University Swim 101 curriculum to young children, you will experience the beauty of this approach first hand.  And when you can make swimming lessons for young children more playful; when you have the children engaged and using their imaginations, you are creating an atmosphere where your students are bound to excel and experience the joy of learning to swim.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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December 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm Comments (0)

Group Swim Lessons

When it comes to determining what type of swim lessons you can offer, or what type of swim lesson class a parent should enroll their child in, there are several considerations, including, but not limited to the skill level of the swimmers.  In today’s blog on group swim lessons for kids, my recommendations are based on the assumption that we are talking about non-swimmers or true beginner swimmers.  With that said, here are my recommendations based on the age of the beginner swimmers:

3 & 4 year olds

Especially for children under five years old, I personally don’t recommend a class larger than 3 children.  As you probably well know, I also feel strongly about the benefits of using a “progressive flotation device (removable buoyancy pads),” from both a safety stand point as well a means to increase the child’s ability to learn faster due to increased practice time.  You improve anything through practice.  If you can’t practice-you can’t improve.  In terms of a developing a dependency with a progressive flotation device, you eliminate that because you are constantly challenging the swim lesson student by giving them just enough buoyancy to be successful.  On the other hand, use no flotation device and what happens?  The child becomes dependant on the person helping them and holding them, and doesn’t learn how their kicking and pulling actually moves them through the water.

5 & 6 years olds

A quad class (4:1 ratio) or small group class (6:1 ratio) can work nicely in kids swim lessons, providing you use some type of progressive flotation device for beginners AND have an experienced swimming instructor who minimizes downtime.  If there is a lot of “waiting turns,” then you’re much better off with a smaller class.   Not only does the child miss out on invaluable practice time, but teachers will experience class management problems as well, not to mention the safety of the children is compromised.

7 & 8 year olds

For children ages 7 and over, a group of up to 8 can still provide an effective learning environment even for beginners.  But once again, providing the swim instructor uses some type of flotation device and knows how to maximize practice time when teaching  group swim lessons to beginners.

Advantages of the Small Group Lessons

There are some clear advantages of small group swim lessons over private lessons as well:

  1. Peer Learning – Peer learning is very powerful. The “if she can do it I can do it” logic is very real and goes a long way in learning and improving skills.
  2. Fun – Children enjoy being around other children.  More than any other class scenario, “small groups” capture this critical component of learning.   Enjoyment = Success.
  3. Price – Small Group Lessons are certainly the most economical because the addition of more students brings down the cost of the class.

At the Swim Lessons Company, we no longer do anything larger than a trio (3 children per class) for beginner preschoolers (Swim 101).  We did quads (4:1 ratio) for a long time, but for both learning and safety reasons, we now don’t go larger then trios.  For older children, Swim 102 (6-9) and Swim 103 (10-12), we regularly offer quads and small group classes, which the class is comprised to up to six students.  In fact, we even will put up to eight students in a class in some of our school swim programs, camps, etc. where the children are at least 7 years of age.  Again, when you combine flotation devices and better motor ability due to maturation, you can run a very successful small group class in a safer, more enjoyable learning environment.

Hope this article was helpful to you.  I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of private swim lessons in my next swim lesson blog.

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November 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm Comments (0)

Washington Swim Teacher Thanks “The Swim Professor” and Shares Some Cool Ideas of Her Own!

Dear Swim Professor,

Thanks for checking in. I was thinking about emailing you on our progress. My first three students all wanted private swim lessons and the first child (a nine year old boy who did not know how to swim at all) was doing freestyle with side breathing on the third lesson. I have decided to give the parents the option of once or twice per week because I really want the kids to learn to swim. Most choose twice per week and the kiddos are learning very quickly. I have a total of four students and that number will go up to 10 in November when soccer ends.

The parents have all told me they really like the progression style teaching ( Swim Lessons University Lessons Plans) and that I spend a lot of time with each child, which is something they did not see at the bigger swim schools in the area. One thing that the children have really enjoyed that I do is “I find out what each kid really likes and make the lesson fit the child.” Example: one of my 4 year olds loves Indiana Jones. So each skill is on that theme. Instead of “get your motorboat out of the mud”, we get “Indiana’s Jeep out of the quicksand.” (Great example of how you can take the Swim Lessons University Lesson plans and add ideas of your own to make your lessons unique). Another idea I had that the children love is that I also am able to provide token coins that the kiddos earn as they master skills and then can cash in at my treasure box at the end of each lesson.

All in all I am having a great time with all of your Swim Lessons University training products you sent me!

Thanks you so much!

Coach Jimmesue
Camas, WA

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October 26, 2009 at 5:49 pm Comments (0)