It’s not only an important skill to learn, it’s also a significant step in a child’s development, explains early childhood educator Gloria Marquez of Little Presidents Learning Palace (LPLP) in San Miguel, Manila.
Learning how to swim need not be a dreadful task, if you break it down into simple and fun steps and arm yourself with techniques. Sandra Co, vice-president of LPLP explains, “Our Early Childhood Swimming Program aims to help the child be confident and sociable, and of course, strong and healthy.” Through fun games and structured water play, budding swimmers also learn about teamwork and cooperation.
“The goal is to make them feel good about swimming for them to learn naturally,” she adds.
STEP 1: Meet and greet The first step is to guide your tot in getting accustomed to the water, says Marquez. Taking a shower is actually the first step, she says. After getting them wet, warm-up exercises like bending and jumping in place prepare young tots for an energy-filled swim date. Some tots will naturally brave the water without any prodding; some will be typically fearful and would take a longer time to even sit on the edge of the pool. Either way, the key is to encourage them to play with water.
STEP 2: Playing on the Steps Holding your little one by the hand as you both step into the pool is an important trust-builder. Let her sit down on the step area and play by splashing the water for instance or maybe flapping her legs and feet underwater. Give her a toy if that makes it more fun for her. “When kids see that the other kids are having fun, they realize that the water is safe and fun,” Marquez observes. “Sooner or later,” she adds, “the once fearful tots begin to tread the water without anyone holding them anymore.”
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