Alex usually writes these articles, and I watch and take the photographs. This week however we have an unusually high workload so he is working and I'm penning today's toddler swimming article.
I say I just watch and take the photographs, but I also get Amélie changed to go, and changed to come back after the lesson. I've also taken her on one occasion, and outside of the lessons we go swimming as a family and use some of the routines and techniques we have learned from the lessons.
The lesson before us went on late so Alex and Amélie were in the pool killing time. They were practicing 'monkey monkey monkey' before the start of the lesson. The aim of this is that eventually your child will be able to shuffle up and down the side of the pool using their hands on the side of the pool or rail. It was quite a coincidence that near the end of the lesson they were asked for the first time ever to let the toddlers do 'monkey monkey monkey' on their own.
Usually the parent moves their hands for them. This time they were asked to stand to the side of their toddler and encourage them to do it alone by acting out the move themselves. Unbelievably that is exactly what Alex and Amélie had been doing before the lesson. When it came up in the lesson Amélie was away on her own shuffling along to the left.
Unfortunately when it came to shuffling to the right she still wanted to shuffle to the left. So we had a line of toddlers grappling the rail, moving in perfect harmony to the right and little Amélie grappling towards them in the opposite direction collision bound to the left. Ironically Alex had spent 10 minutes before the lesson teaching her to do it to the right!
The lesson began exactly the same way as it has for the previous few lessons.
They started off the lesson as normal singing the song 'If you are happy and you now it...' and then each baby being taken around the group to greet the other babies. Followed by a 1-2-3 swim back to mum or dad along with a high five. At the beginning of the new term when the teacher gave the babies a high five very few did it now they all do it, it is wonderful to see how quickly these little ones learn.
After the introduction the toddlers sat on the side of the pool for Humpty Dumpty. Amélie didn't even let the rhyme get half way through before she decided to slide into the pool. After the toddlers had fallen into the pool they swam to the other side of the pool and did the hold on move. They then repeated Humpty Dumpty and swam back and did a 1-2-3 swim and held onto the rail. Amélie is really good at holding on now and even pulls herself up to look out over the side of the pool.
Next all the toddlers did a glide swim to the other side of the pool, this was followed by a holiday swim back to the rail side of the pool. It is great to see that when the toddlers come up from under the water you can see that they hold their breath as they all blow water from out of their noses. All the toddlers are really happy and none are phased about going under the water.
The toddlers were then given a ball each to chase around the pool. This was shortly followed by the instructor holding a hoop and the toddlers throwing the ball through the hoop and then doing a surface swim through the hoop to fetch the ball. The toddlers are getting better at this. In the beginning they all seemed to sink but now they kick their legs and although they are not quite afloat as yet they are still quite near the surface of the water.
The toddlers all sat on the side of the pool and threw their balls into the water and jumped in after the ball to retrieve it. This was followed by the instructor sitting on the side of the pool and throwing the baby into the water near the rail and the toddler quickly holding onto the rail.
Like many other lessons the toddlers went surfing on the teddy bears which I must say looks exhausting for the parents as the parents have to throw the babies about like they are surfing flipping them onto their backs and then onto their fronts.
Everyone then got into a circle and marched around the pool to the song ' A Grand Old Duke of York' and when the parents went under water with the toddlers on coming up they had to say 'boo' to the toddler.
It was now time for the woggles to come out. This is my favourite part as the toddlers swim by themselves with the aid of the woggle. Each toddler was given a spaceship to follow in the water.
Amélie gets really excited when swimming on the woggle and really kicks her legs.
The lesson started coming to a close with the usual 'wibble wobble' and 'row row row your boat' on the large float. The toddlers love this it is all smiles as they fall about.
At the end of the lesson the instructor bent 2 woggles (which are big rods of foam) into U shapes. She then held one at either side of her to act as 2 bridges. The toddlers did back to chest back floating (toddler on back, their back resting on parents chest, both moving backwards) in a circle passing under both bridges.
As you can probably see from the article that there was no new techniques. It is obvious to see that all the toddlers are still enjoying the lessons, splashing more, laughing more and I don't think it will be long before they are all off swimming on the surface of the water and that I can't wait to see.