We are very pleased that swimming lessons have started in school and is very popular with the students. Swimming is part of the curriculum in many countries because of the many benefits it will bring to us. Swimming allows your child to develop water safety and survival skills, builds strength, muscle tone and assists with balance and coordination. However, the benefits of swimming reach beyond the physical, providing several positive mental benefits as well.
1. Enhances mental development
Swimming stimulates young children’s senses and is thought to improve brain and emotional development. As babies develop mobility functions and breathing becomes deeper, they are encouraged to make sound. This improves communication and aids in language and speech development. Swimming also supports a child’s mind/body connection as studies have shown that during exercise a child’s mind is stimulated, promoting further brain development and intelligence.
2. Develops confidence
Children can often be fearful of water if they are not sensitised to it. Overcoming this fear can be extremely empowering, boosting confidence and self-esteem. This newfound confidence can extend to social situations, which allows your child to interact with peers, developing their social skills and providing another self-esteem boost. Improving self-esteem instills a positive attitude towards physical activity which assists later in life.
3. Boosts social skills
Swimming, while often thought to be a solo activity, is actually a great social activity. It introduces you and your child to others with similar interests and lifestyles. Children enjoy the interaction with other children where they find a common ground, solidifying a valuable social engagement outside of school.
4. Support a stress-free lifestyle
Swimming is a great stress reliever. It clears the mind, provides routine and fosters a balanced lifestyle. Scientifically, swimming is proven to increase endorphins (and other mood-boosting chemicals) in the brain.
When I was in school, swimming lessons were in outdoor pools. This may sound very pleasant but Irish weather and outdoor swimming do not go hand in hand.
Here at Oryx we have outstanding facilities for swimming, which include a learner pool and a full size 25 m pool.
The pools are maintained by qualified technicians by our facilities management company. We maintain the temperature of the water between 27° to 29°C, and the air temperature is maintained between 28° to 31°C. The learner pool will always be warmer than the big pool.
Health and safety is of paramount importance to us and all lessons have been planned with this in mind. Below are the guidelines for swimming at Oryx.
1. Teacher: Student Ratio
The maximum number of students per session shall be dependent on the level of the students and shall not exceed the Instructor / Student ratios which are based on the UK Swimming Teaching Code of Practice (April 2016)
Swim Level Teacher: Student Ratio
Non Swimmers (fear of water) 1:6
One suitably qualified lifeguard must be on duty at all times and one ‘supervisor’ who could be a TA or parent helper (Parent Helper to have completed the volunteer form available at reception).
With FS2 and Year 1 we will use 2 ‘supervisors’ in addition to a lifeguard qualified teacher.
FS1 will not have ‘lessons’ as such but a series of ‘splash‘ sessions with mums.
- Non Swimmer Learner - Those who are not able to swim, may be of any age. Non swimmers may have no confidence in the water and may be fearful in a swimming pool environment.
- Beginner Learner - Those who are mobile in the water but who would not be safe out of their depth without buoyancy aids.
- Improver Learner - Those who are able to swim 15 metres on their front and their back.
- Advanced Learner - Those who can sustain a good stroke over 100 metres.
Students excused swimming on medical grounds should still be engaged with the learning process
2. Lone Worker
- A swimming teacher should not operate / teach in a lone worker environment.
- If a swimming teacher is taken ill and needs emergency assistance, there needs to be someone available to respond, initiate the Emergency Action Plan and take control of the other learners within a lesson.
- In order to protect themselves from safeguarding concerns, swimming teachers should not be alone with a learner or learners.
- A detailed and thorough risk assessment should be undertaken to ensure the safety of all.
3. Teaching in the Water Best Practice Methods
- A swimming teacher should not teach improver or advanced learners from within the water.
- When teaching in the water there must be someone on the poolside who is competent to respond.
- No swimming teacher should teach in the water for more than three consecutive hours.
Overall swimming, while fantastic for physical health and wellbeing, has invaluable mental health benefits. As children grow and develop, the positive mental effects of swimming begin to align, if not exceed the physical benefits of swimming.