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:
- 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).
- 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.
- Be prepared. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Always have a Lesson plan with both age appropriate skills and progressions.
- 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 !
- 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
- Sandwich “corrections” with complements. Complement, correct, complement. A great technique. At the very least, complement twice as
much as you correct.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Educate parents on the importance of learning to swim, and at the same time, stress that there is no such thing as drownproofing.
- 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
encounter, while you teach a skill that could save a child’s life.