What's the outcome you desire most from the lessons you give kids this summer?
Happy parents? Kids who can go off the diving board and swim to the side easily? Kids who can do freestyle for 25 yards? Kids who can hang out in deep water all day? Increased profits?
Our goal is to make them safe in deep water. What does safe mean? It means they aren't afraid to be around deep water, they don't mind being in it, and they are in control there, whether they're rested or tired, or someone bumps into them, or something creates a big splash right next to them...or even lands on them! (Not that we're going to practice that.)
When kids come to the pool for lessons, they either know how the water works and or they don't. The ones who do are ready to learn strokes. The ones who don't need to know what makes them float and what makes them sink; that a back float means their face is out of the water; how to keep water out of their nose; how to sink on purpose; how to rest; how to get air; how to use the bottom to come up; how to use their arms to come up; what it feels like when they don't need air yet; how long their air will last; what it feels like when it's time to get air.
It's a ton of fun to use play to teach all these lessons to those who don't know the water yet. It's another ball of wax altogether teaching strokes to those who know the water. But the bottom line is that parents (and we) want to know that kids are okay if they fall in, are pushed in by their peers at a party, and that what they say is respected if they aren't safe in water yet and they know they must not be pushed in.
This summer, let's make sure kids know what their limits are and that they learn something above that expands their safety.
There's something you can teach people who already know how the water works which will expand their safety: panic prevention. That's for another post.