This weekend the Baby Paddlers team went further on their journey of discovery into the world of Aqua Sensory®, having completed the initial foundation training in September we headed off to the home of Aqua Sensory at Swim Works in Leamington Spa.
It has always been important to me that Baby Paddlers teaches in a way that is unique to each child in the class whilst maintaining the fun group environment. In any early learning setting, Milestones are often talked about (we’ve even called our programme of development this!!), but as we know children develop at different things at different times. I believe it’s important to support children and parents in the pool with fun activities, songs that they enjoy and encouragement and smiles whilst finding ways to create an environment where children lead the way.
Exploring the world is a natural activity and when children trust themselves, they develop confidence and a positive self-image. The idea of baby/child led learning is that we are naturally curious about the world around us. Instead of satisfying requirements and ticking off boxes, children even from a really young age, can be made more aware of their personal interests, strengths and weaknesses. It can also teach them about how they learn best, whether it is auditory, visual or kinesthetic, as don’t we all learn so differently?!
Of course, this does not make the parent or teacher absent from the learning process, if anything it means that the adults have to work at including the right level of patience and support to encourage their child to copy, follow or lead an activity. Our mission is to support and help parents to do this in classes and then go off on their own to practice and enjoy the water with their loved ones.
Our Commitment to continued learning and improvement
As a swim school we are making a commitment to focus on multi-sensory learning which is an important part of child-led development. Babies learn through their senses so it’s important for us to focus on how we introduce this into the water. This is especially true as babies get older and are introduced to the water in a gentle and calm way. As some parents will know through experience, this can be important for children who may take longer to enjoy the water or have negative emotions that may link to some swimming activities. With our toddlers and our preschoolers we have always aimed to support the overcoming of any fears, focusing on the child leading their way through activities like choosing when they go under water or when they are ready to jump. Safety is key throughout, but the development of children who smile and do an activity when they are ready, not when their peers are or when we expect them to, can lead them to love the water even more!
So utilising our current ethos to focus on parents having fun in the water with their children, Aqua Sensory introduces new ideas into the pool. To quote the programme “It taps into feelings and emotions. It takes traditional dry land activities and refines them for the pool. It is not about simple play and putting lots of toys in the pool. It’s about movement and discovery play which allows the brain to grow connections. By working in this way we can aim to develop social, cogitative, physical skills and strong emotionally well-rounded children.”
What an exciting journey we are now on to further enhance how we can make swimming a beautiful bonding experience for all parents and children that swim with us!
We had a brilliant day and cannot thank Jo Wilson at Swimworks enough for her excellent training and support. I will ensure that we update you all very soon in more detail (once we’ve digested it all) and you will start to see how we will incorporate this into our lessons so we are learning to be better facilitators of your children’s learning to have fun in the water!
Here is to a fantastic 2019