Top 4 Reasons Year-Round Swim Instruction is Smarter
By: Ruthie Zarren
Founder, Little Fishes Swim School
Co-creator, Safer When Wet, a comprehensive preschool program that teaches water
You can see a few leaves beginning to turn. Mornings are getting just a little bit cooler. Pools are closing. Unbelievably, summer is almost over; for many families this means that they will discontinue swim lessons in favor of soccer, football, piano, or guitar. But, before you pack away your kids’ swimsuits, consider the below four reasons you should continue swim lessons year-round:
- Skill Progression (and Retention): We’ve all heard the saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” right? It’s true. In order to retain skills for the long-term, students must continue to swim beyond the summer months. Little Fishes Swim School coaches see it all the time: a child has advanced to a particular level over the summer only to leave in the fall and regress to the previous level when re-enrolling the next summer. The longer a child is away from swimming, the longer it takes him or her to work back to the initial skill level.
- Safety: Little swimmers who break during the fall and winter months not only lose swimming skills, but they can also forget crucial water survival and safety skills. Without repetition, these skills leave a child’s long-term memory and, when faced with a life-threatening situation, it is more likely that a child who has stopped lessons will forget what to do when it matters most.
Health: We hear it all the time: “We are stopping when the weather turns cooler because getting wet and going from hot to cold environments will make him/her sick.” The truth is, children who spend fall and winter months swimming are not more susceptible to colds and viruses. Our warm (93 degree) hygienic saltwater pools feature high-tech ultra-violet water treatment systems and ensure that your children’s body temperatures stay constant. In addition, research has shown that swimming keep lungs clear of accumulated mucus, reducing proneness to respiratory problems. Finally, swimming (and other physical activities) increases appetite and improves sleep patterns which can contribute to increased immunity against winter illnesses.
Brain Building: Science has proven that practice does, indeed, make perfect. Brain imaging technology allows us to see how the repetition of actions affects the brain’s make-up. In order to perform a task, various parts of our brain are activated and create electrical signals to engage other parts of the brain. The faster these signals can transmit, the more “automatic” the task becomes. Transmission becomes faster through myelination. Regularly practicing a skill like swimming causes the same pattern of electrical signals to activate which, in turn, triggers the myelination of this transmission system. This is how you build aptitude, speed, and enhance procedural memory for a specific skill.
It is common sense that has been scientifically proven: the more you do something, the better you get at it and the more automatic it becomes. By enrolling your child in year-round swimming lessons, your child perfects strokes, gets faster, and advances to the next class level. More importantly, it means that at any time, in any season, your child will be more likely to remember and implement the life-saving skills he or she has learned when around water.
Ruthie Zarren founded Little Fishes Swim School (LFSS), a premier swim education center and the first private, indoor, year-round swim school in St. Louis, in 2008. The School’s second location opened May 31, 2014 in Chesterfield, MO. Since 2008, LFSS has taught more than 6000 children, ages 6 months to 8 years, to swim, giving them a “Skill for Life”. If you are in the St. Louis area and would like more information or would like to enroll your child, visit www.littlefishesswimschool.com or 314-647-SWIM (7946).