By Alma Clarice Royandoyan, Canadian Red Cross Digital Volunteer

Kai smiling holding his Red Cross swim progress book infront of the poolWhen my youngest son, Kai, turned 2 years old I thought it was time to enroll him in swim classes. While checking the options available for him, I found the Red Cross Swim Preschool Program.  It looked very exciting as they use animal mascots for each level of the program and integrate songs and activities into the lessons to make it fun and engaging for kids.
 
I learned that the Red Cross Swim Preschool Program is structured into eight levels designed around the physical, social characteristics, and motor skills of each age group. The levels include: Starfish, Duck, and Sea Turtle which are all parent/caregiver and child lessons for kids 4-36 months old. These levels focus on teaching the parent/caregiver how to support our children in the water as well as how to promote their development of physical abilities in the water. We also learn safety tips for kids around water. Then Sea Otter, Salamander, Sunfish, Crocodile, and Whale  are designed for our preschool aged children ages 3-6 to attend without a parent or caregiver in the water. Here the children begin to develop independent water skills as well as learn water safety rules for safety.
Photo of Red Cross Preschool Swim Badges by a pool
Kai has been taking swimming lessons for three years now and is at the Salamander level. I found swimming lessons has helped him immensely with being comfortable and confident in the water. When he first started in Red Cross Swim Preschool, he cried the first few sessions. Now he loves being in the water and always looks forward to his swim classes. This progress has also had a positive impact on his older brother, and helped him overcome his own fear of the water. Now they both enjoy swimming and playing in the pool.

Kai swimming in the water with his swimming instructorKai’s swimming instructor shared that one of the most important skills taught to 3-year-olds is being comfortable in the water. At this age, they don’t introduce complex skills, but rather focus on getting kids comfortable in the water so that they are ready to progress to the next levels of swimming lessons.
 
As a parent, I really appreciate the Red Cross Swim Preschool Program. I’ve discovered that swimming lessons not only teach kids how to swim, but also teach really valuable life and social skills.  As for Kai, he will keep swimming because he says, “it’s fun!”. His goal is to be in the Crocodile level.
 

To sign up for Red Cross Swim programs and learn more about water competency, contact your local pool. For more information, check out www.redcross.ca

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