Over the last 8 weeks, I have been on a journey of reviewing my Infant and Toddler Lesson Plans. In consultation with DLSA Senior Teachers Miss Charlene and Miss Christine (arguably some of the MOST experienced and best Infant & Toddler Program Teachers in our region), we are in the final stages of testing in preparation for release to the whole program in January.
I have a few golden rules I follow whenever I create/review my Lesson Plans, these are:
Every drill must be safe for all participants
Every line item/drill must have a Water Safety Skill Development purpose
Each skill must build upon the previous skill
Each drill must be easily understood, even by a new Teacher
Each drill/skill must be achievable but also challenging to the swimmer
With this in mind, I am excited to have implemented a range of subtle changes that I feel will have great impact to class flow and overall skill development throughout our Infant & Toddler Program.
Take for instance our switch to thinner/floppier crawl/walkover mat into the Bubs and Toddler Levels. This will:
Reducing stability - increasing the challenge to a bub/toddler
Engaging minor muscle groups
Increase balance skills
More closely mimic a fluid/water environment
Provide a greater challenge resulting in increase confidence and skill development over time.
For many years the DLSA Infant & Toddler Program incorporated its special Obstacle Course and Circuit Work element as part of its regular lesson plan. We have now evolved the these two elements into one, with four specific variants which will be worked on a four week cycle. The new variants increase exposure to deep water treading skill development... And tell the kids not to stress... The pool slide class favourite is still in the lesson plan, just now every four weeks. :)
There are a range of other changes, predominantly changes/clarifications to specific holds and a few drill order changes and some drill repeat number changes, but the last big change is the edition of a new song!
In a recent test class I enjoyed watching the excitement on the children's faces when the various songs were sung. Singing in class is definitely a highlight to the class for the swimmers (maybe not the parents). Without a doubt, the Infants & Toddlers relate the skill and drill they are doing to the song that is being sung. PRO TIP - To get the MOST out of swimming classes, mums and dads need to make sure they really 'get into' their singing during their class.
Introducing our new 'Make a Splash' song for our simulated falls drill at the end of class.
I think the kids are going to love it and it will be a GREAT way to finish off our simulated falls into the water.
Our new Lesson Plans we be coming into place throughout January... It may take a few weeks for all the Teachers to get everything running perfectly. As you could imagine, they have been doing things a certain way over and over for a long time and will need to 'relearn' the Lesson Plans to accomodate the changes. But after a few weeks I expect that things will be running smoothly and in a few months, we hope to see a ripple of increased skill development flowing through our program.
Thanks for reading through my blog post! I hope you learnt something new. Always happy to chat or answer questions if you have them. If you are a member of the DLSA Website, you can make a comment/ask a question in the comments section below.
See you round the pool deck!
Darren Lange OLY
Director of DLSA