I say fabulous because they can accomplish unbelievably great swim skills. Plus, five-year-olds are absolutely fascinating and fun to teach. If they’ve had swim lessons as threes and fours, they’re poised to take off.
Just that one extra year of maturity and better coordination can mean awesome swimmers!
As I mentioned in a previous post, we taught these Y preschoolers twice a week, all the school year, so they accomplished more than the usual YMCA Skipper classes.
At five, they take what they’re doing a little more seriously, and so want to learn. Our swimmers already knew what they would be expected to accomplish, having observed the five-year-olds in previous years. The fives learned to swim a whole (25 yard) pool lap—that’s down and back—without stopping. Again, floating or treading a little to rest was acceptable—but none of them wanted to resort to that unless they had to.
Also, they switched strokes at the end of one length, from front crawl to backstroke, coming back on backstroke. And they weren’t allowed to hang on the wall—just a quick turn and kick- off.
That’s a lot even for some out of shape adults, so it took quite a bit of endurance work. But the five-year-olds were really into being good swimmers. Again, when it was accomplished, we made a big deal out of it.
There were a few fives that could learn a rudimentary rhythmic breathing technique. It wasn’t pretty, but was close to being right. Again, even though they’re more coordinated, they weren’t coordinated enough to pull off rhythmic breathing perfectly.
And the “fall off the back of the boat” game was improved from the year before. They could float and tread for a much longer time.
By the time these kids got to regular swim lessons they were always advanced. The YMCA classes are Polliwogs (beginners), Guppies (intermediate), Minnows (endurance), and the advanced classes—Fish and Flying Fish.
Our preschoolers, when they were promoted, usually wound up in either Guppies or Minnows.
I enthusiastically recommend, if you have small children, to start them in swim lessons. And if your child is on the chubby side, swimming is ONE sport in which they can excel—and be better than their skinny friends. That’s because fat floats better than muscle. And floating well leads to an easier time in swim lessons.
Do your child a favor, and find a YMCA with an indoor pool!