KidSwim Developmental Swim Program Phases
Infant Swim Phase B: 12-24 months of age: During the second infant phase, if a child has completed Phase A, they are completely comfortable being in the water and are moving towards beginning swimming. This means, a child can glide short distances with their face in the water while kicking. They can float on their back, often unassisted or with only head support and they can almost always jump into the water by themselves, going under and coming up to the surface. Towards the later months, as children move closer to the two year old mark, they begin to work on skills that will be emphasized after they transition into individual lessons. **If your child is starting out at this phase without having had exposure in Phase A, they would simply begin with the same steps that are taught in Phase A and they may quickly be able to incorporate phase B into the program.
Toddler Swim Phase Level 1: 2-4 yrs If your toddler is being introduced to the water and lessons for the first time during this phase, then the process is much different from Level 2 for an experienced child. While it is completely acceptable to wait until your child is 2 or even 3 to begin swim lessons, please recognize that this phase is the trickiest one to teach in and requires infinite patience and understanding as your child is not quite mentally developed enough to process everything from a rational perspective. They are much more reactionary and impulsive. This is where use of creative games, toys, and the true developmental techniques are applied. This is THE MOST CRUCIAL STAGE FOR A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE, particularly for beginners with little to no previous water exposure. The instructor needs to incorporate your child’s temperment, character and personality into the learning process. If you have a daredevil child who enjoys taking risks then the instructor will capitalize on that and your child will likely swim fairly quickly and progress easily. If your child is tentative, cautious or has difficulty separating from the parent, then this child needs more time to trust the instructor and the environment. This is NOT the time to enforce a parent agenda on a young child. The long term positive benefits from allowing your young child the luxury of figuring out how to make sense of the water will come back a thousand times in positive ways in their future.
Toddler Swim Phase Level 2: 2-4 yrs If your toddler has begun their swim experience in our infant phase, by now they should have smoothly transitioned into the toddler phase and are even learning basic strokes, such as big arms and frog arms, rolling on their backs assisted, jumping in and swimming short distances, learning how to swim to the wall and reach up and grab on, what to do if they accidentally push off from the steps and how to turn and swim back, etc.. At this point, we begin to work on actual strokes and breathing and building endurance.
** A note about your child physically between age 2-4. As a two year old, your child is adorably toddler like with a bit of a belly and a ‘toddle’ style walk. What is important to understand is that your child has very little core muscle strength during this phase and there are natural limits to what their body can do. Additionally their neck muscles are not fully developed and it is VERY difficult and tiring for a child to pick their head up out of the water for a breath. As your child moves closer to 4 and the preschool phase, their core becomes stronger, their coordination is better and their neck and back muscles are more developed. It is always best to focus on what they CAN do safely and effectively at each stage of development; both physical and mental.
Preschool Swim Phase: 4-5 yrs. At this point, if your child has moved through our infant phases and toddler phases, they are well on their way to becoming confident, water safe swimmers. During this phase, your child will learn all four strokes, side breathing, flip turns, diving, treading, deep water swimming, elementary backstroke, sidestroke, swim drills and water safety techniques. If your child began lessons in the toddler phase, their progress will be dependent on how quickly they adapted to the water environment as a toddler. Often we see a big move forward in maturity and skill level between the summer of age 4 and the summer they turn 5.
**The rule of thumb when it comes to parental vigilance with their children around water as their children become strong swimmers, is that if their child is swimming alone in their own pool without any other children involved, it is at your discretion how vigilant you need to be with an older child. For every variable that you add into the equation; such as one or two friends, toys and rafts, a different pool, more distractions, you must assume that even though your child knows what to do, other children may not and your vigilance must be maintained throughout.