This week saw the Little Lady receive her second swimming award – to say she was pleased with herself is a bit of an under statement. So much was she keen to show off her new skills, that she begged her mom to come swimming with us this weekend to do just that. It’s not often we have a spare slot to all get in the pool but we managed it this week.
Her lessons started just over eight weeks ago and the progress she has made in that short time is pretty amazing (I know I’m bound to say that but it’s true). From whining when the bath water went on her face and clinging to the sides or one of us, the difference is phenomenal. Now she can launch in from the side with no fear. She will dive down to the floor to pick up weighted toys and she will swim between points with just a floated vest or her wings. The confidence she has gained with consistent visits and a supportive teacher is clear to see.
Not only is swimming fun but it’s a life skill and with this skill comes reassurance. This Little Lady can be laden with self doubt and anxiety about trying new things but since she’s started swimming her belief in herself has doubled. None of us really likes doing something we are unsure of but getting into the pool and being aided to manage the water has meant that she is beginning to change from a little girl fearful of new things to one who is keen to have a go and get it wrong because it doesn’t matter.
With her second Swim England Duckling Certificate and badge taking pride of place on display in her bedroom, she’s reminded of what she’s achieved so far. I’m sure she doesn’t appreciate what she is gaining from the process and neither should she. The point is, she’s happy and learning. She’s having fun and she’s using her energy which has the added benefit of absolutely wearing her out too!
The advantage of the Duckling awards is that they are timed to reward progress in incremental stages that aren’t too demanding. This means that young learners are rewarded for their efforts maintaining their interest and enthusiasm. This is reliant on parent / carer support too of course, but the more often they can get into the water, the more likely they are to practise the skills they acquire. The old adage ‘practise makes perfect’ is apt here. While a refined style is not high on the agenda of Duckling 3, I’m sure a reduced splash factor would be appreciated by her fellow swimmers – so we’ll subtly work on that as we head towards the next stage.
You can learn more about the Swim England Duckling Awards at www.swimming.org