American child-development expert and swim coach, Maria Di Fiore Solanki, who heads Water Town Swim School brings an altogether amazing and wonderful concept for all of you in India.
Even as new parents, we begin thinking about what school our child will go to when they are ready for preschool. We want to give them the best education. But we have no idea we are missing all the valuable early years when brain development is at its peak, much before they will ever be accepted into a formal school.
You might be surprised to know that if we do not provide the brain enough stimulation, we limit the potential for our baby. We as parents cannot think that such a young baby is too young to learn.
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Parent and Child Swimming Classes
For the first time in India, children as young as 4 months are being taught swimming and water safety. Water Town Swim School specializes in ‘parent and child’ swimming classes, teaching babies from just 4 months to 4 years of age.
Children with special needs also benefit greatly from these classes and all instructors at the academy are trained to work with physical and mental needs.
Water Town Swim School uses a unique technique to make children feel comfortable in the water with toys, games, songs, and key phrases. These proven techniques get babies to feel comfortable even underwater and move small distances on their own, with no assistance!
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FAQs About Swimming
We sat down with Di Fiore Solanki and asked her a few questions.
Q: Should parents be scared to put a young baby in the pool?
Di Fiore Solanki:
NO!! All across the US, UK, Europe, Australia children are entering the pool even at eight weeks old. Though Water Town starts at 4 months old for child developmental reasons, children are safe no matter the chlorine and other factors. Water Town Swim School makes sure to test the water for proper balance before children enter ensuring that children will not catch anything from the water.
Q: What do you think are the 5 minimum benefits of early swimming lessons?
Di Fiore Solanki:
- Children and parents learn to be safe in and around the water.
- Children who participate in early swim lessons have higher IQ levels and more vocabulary in their mind dictionary.
- Early swim lessons help with cognitive and motor skills development.
- The bonding experience with parents is great and the fact that parents can continue to practice with their child is fun.
- Socializing with other children is an important lesson that many children do not get until school age. Parents get to make friends too!
Need for Swimming
She raises an excellent point indeed. Statistics have shown that about one hundred people drown in India per day and roughly 1.2 million drown around the world every year. In fact, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death worldwide.
Aside from being such a crucial skill, children who learn swimming early in life also get the added benefit of developing a larger vocabulary and greater motor skills which means that the cross paddling technique used in swimming helps to connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain and this improves overall body coordination.
Parents are super busy these days, working to earn for the house. The classes give an opportunity for the parents to really focus on their child and they come out very happy after this bonding session.
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Feedback about Water Town Swim School
Sonia also spoke highly of the classes,
“Oh, we just love them! The coaches make it so easy to follow along. She adores children and everyone feels comfortable. The way she explains the techniques is great and we actually become our babies’ first swim teacher even if we ourselves don’t know swimming! The bonding experience is awesome. My husband and other dads are also joining!”
The swimming classes are a productive and healthy use of time for children during the swim season.
Ellen, mother of an 8-month-old boy said,
“When my husband was transferred to India, I was not thrilled as I thought my child would miss out on so many great programs that we have in the USA. But after finding Maria’s classes, I was so thankful that now my child can have the same experiences in India as he would have got if we stayed back in California!”
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A big question is always about – will a young child actually learn to swim?
That could be answered by comparing it to learning their native language. The process is gradual and there are developmental milestones from sounds, to words and from words to sentences. It’s not until they are much older can they boast of a rich vocabulary. It’s pretty much the same in the case of swimming. They progress from floating to paddling. Then they master the strokes- freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly and may even reach the very advanced stage of diving!
Another common concern is what happens if the child is not happy in the water/class?
“This happens at least 30% of the time, a child or baby might come in screaming. This can be due to hunger, tiredness, or just a new experience. You can’t give up on your child the first time, let them come. From what I can see, it takes the child 2 to 3 days to calm down (sometimes just 2 to 3 minutes!).
The important thing is to be positive and keep coming, they will begin to enjoy it, but if you, as the parent give up, then the child will too and they are the ones that ultimately lose out on the experience so just give it a go for a few days! As long as you can tell the teacher is good, the child will need time to adjust!” assures Maria.
Tanning is the major concern
And as far as parents getting worried about their kids getting tanned, Maria says, “Who cares if they get a tan! Love the skin you are in! To protect against UV/SPF use sunblock or clothing or purchase a full swimsuit. Black is beautiful!”
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Role of the coach
Having said this, the role of the teacher is of utmost significance. A swim class for this age group is totally useless if the teacher is not good. Just because a person is a champion swimmer, does not make them a champion teacher and expert in child development. I have seen this mistake happen too many times and can assume this will happen more in more in India as parents demand early childhood swim classes so it is important to beware.
Actually, to get certified to teach the class is not enough. It is like a person who just finished medical school and having them already start performing surgeries, they need years of residency and practice before they can perform their first surgery alone regardless if they are a certified MD. This is the case for a proper teacher.
Not only should they be certified to teach this age group but they should have a degree or major background in child development. Furthermore, they should have at least 2 years of CONSTANT SUPERVISION by someone who has at least 5 years of experience and a degree in child development.
This is not something that one should take lightly and just wake up one day and say, “Hmmm, I think I will splash around in the pool with babies to make some extra money.”
For such a young age group, you need a professional. Water Town Swim School is particular about the professional approach they apply to swim classes and training coaches. They take no chances.
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Water Town Swim School in India
At the moment, Water Town Swim School provides regular classes at the swimming pool at The Lalit Hotel, Connaught Place. They have also tied up with a 5-star hotel in Gurgaon and Noida for their summer camps. Visit Facebook for bookings.
Hope you liked our post? Please share your experience of Water Town Swim School with us in the comments section below.
Wish you a very Happy Swimming and Parenting!