How a splash, kick, and some bubbles can positively affect your child’s development
You’ve probably seen a story or two recently about childhood obesity, or about the number of young children who aren’t getting enough physical activity – it’s an issue that’s getting a lot of attention in the media right now. The good news, though, is that schools and other settings are now taking very positive steps (and jumps and skips) to tackle the lack of physical activity that today’s children are receiving. They are doing this by putting an increased emphasis on fundamental movement skills, which not only help to foster a lifelong love of sports but have a positive flow-on effect on other areas of a child’s education, too.
What are fundamental movement skills?
Fundamental movement skills are a specific set of skills that involve different body parts – feet, legs, trunk, arms, and hands. They are the basic ‘building blocks’ that enable children to master the more complex skills needed to participate in various games, sports, and recreational activities.
Broken down into three categories – balance skills, locomotors skills, and ball skills – fundamental movement skills typically start to develop when children are between three and five years old, and it’s at this age that children begin to show a real interest and enjoyment in a range of physical activities.
Swimming’s role in promoting fundamental movement skills
Swimming promotes and builds on these fundamental movement skills through the development of core aquatic skills, which are the basic skills your child needs to get underway with their swimming journey. They include:
- Safe entry into and exit from the water
- Balance and buoyancy
- Aquatic breathing
- Rotation and orientation
- Travel and coordination
- Water safety
- Health and fitness
These skills are interlinked – for example, if a child is not yet comfortable putting their face in the water, they will find streamlining and rotating harder.
Offering a fun, challenging, and positive learning environment, swimming lessons provide children with opportunities to practice aquatic and fundamental movement skills. With research concluding that children who master these skills early on show a greater enjoyment of sports, and are less likely to drop out of physical activity later in life, swimming helps to foster a more positive attitude towards exercise and healthy habits as children grow. This also helps to boost children’s self-esteem, improves social skills, and has a positive effect on other areas of a child’s education – including reading, writing, problem solving, and brain development.
The best way for children to develop core aquatic skills is to practice them in a fun way, in a challenging and positive learning environment. We know that children learn best when they are given time to master new skills, and set problem-solving tasks that allow them to link skills together and engage their exploratory learning skills. This gives children a chance to be creative, and encourages independence and confidence – all skills that help them in other areas of their education too. Making activities fun also speeds up the learning process, with research showing that it takes fewer repetitions for children to acquire new skills when play is involved.
As you know already, the PaddlePod team are hugely passionate about teaching children to swim. As well as instilling valuable, lifesaving and water safety skills, swimming offers many physical and mental health benefits and it’s a great activity for the whole family to get involved in. We offer hundreds of fun and rewarding swimming lessons every week, for children of all ages, and with brand new and exciting facilities, there’s never been a better time to jump in!