This article talks about the swimming progression of a child and the transition phase that they go through when attending swimming lessons.
In the world of learning to swim, there are many phases in learning where one could be at. To give an overview, children swimming programmes can be categorised into:
6) School Agers
Today, we are going to talk about Transition.
Transition Class/Phase, however you want to call it, has a unique yet critical part in the entire journey from Baby To Swim (BTS) Classes to Strokes based Classes or commonly known as Learn To Swim (LTS) Classes.
So what is Transition Classes then?
Swimming Progression – Transition classes, are bridging classes for mostly 3-4 year olds, when they have reached a certain maturity in their learning. Most importantly, mentally and emotionally they have reached a certain level of independence. A good benchmark of such traits are commonly reflected in their ability to take good instructions.
Transition classes are one of the trickiest phase in learning swimming. Being a swim teacher for almost 8 years, the hardest part of teaching swimming, is handling the separation anxiety from the child and his/her parent. Interestingly, one of the latest trends, would be of the separation anxiety from the parent as well!
How do we make sure that the Transition happens smoothly?
Let’s look at it from 2 angles:
1. From The Parent’s Point Of View
A common misconception is that, all the work to have the child and be able to transit smoothly is all done once a week in a 30 mins class. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Ever since birth, they have been with Daddy & Mummy almost at every waking hour. Assuming the child have started with us, say 6 months, he/she would be well conditioned at every swim class, they would have daddy or mummy in the swim class with them, it would be easily between 30 months of routine!
I always like to tell the parents that the true magic of swimming happens beyond the 4 walls of the swim school. Parents needs to start to intentionalise in the day to day things.
Start small. It could be as simple as playing a simple game.
Explain why there’s a need to take instructions. Demonstrate and get them to imitate. Young kids are great at imitating. Praise when they are doing it right.
2. From The Teacher’s Point Of View
As a teacher, we would have to work closely with the parent. Other than learning to read body languages of the child, we would to need have a very constant communication with parent on the progress of their child.
It could be as simple as: “How is Harper today?” “What have you guys been up to for the past week?” When parents starts to share nuggets of what have been going on during the week, as a swim teacher, you can start to draw reference, what would be the potential issues that you would face in the class.
Building of Confidence from the parent, to have them to know that you are for their child. Building of Trust, from the child. This takes time and effort from the teacher!