My daughter had very few words when we first began swimming with Goldfish Swim School. Her vocabulary consisted of the few words that all babies start out with (mama, dada, no, mine, etc.), but she was using very few, if any, basic concept words (location, time, number, description, feelings, etc.). These are words that a child needs to understand and use in order to perform everyday tasks like following directions, participating in daily routines, and engaging in conversation. Basic concepts often occur in pairs and tend to be opposites (hot/cold, happy/sad, etc.).
Our weekly swim lessons at Goldfish consist of practicing the same skills. The directions and tasks my daughter participates in involve a variety of basic concepts. I look back on our time together in the pool and remember using the same words when giving her directions each week — “climb out,” “put in,” etc. Now that she is almost two years-old, my daughter is beginning to use a variety of the language concepts that were modeled for her during her swim lesson. After observing and analyzing my daughter’s language in our past swim lesson, the following are the basic language concepts she uses appropriately:
Wet/Dry: The whole idea of swimming is to get wet. Before each lesson I tell my daughter, “It’s time to get wet,” and when the lesson is complete I tell her, “It’s time to dry off.” Now, she is the one informing me. — “Get wet, Mommy!” “Dry off, Mommy!”
In/Out: During each lesson, we get in the water, put balls in the basket, and climb out of the water. I will give my daughter the direction using these words, and she will then parrot back to me what she is doing. — “Ball in, Mommy!” “Get out, Mommy!”
On/Off: Directions involving on and off are given frequently throughout the swim lesson. Now, after I give the message to my daughter, she parrots back the direction — “Sit on bench, Mommy!” “Jump off bench, Mommy!”
Up/Down: My daughter’s favorite part of the lesson is the slide. When she sees the slide she is ready and tells me, “Go up, Mommy!” Once at the top, I model the phrase, “Go down,” and she is quick to repeat it.
Happy/Sad: At the end of each lesson, I tell my daughter how she was a good listener and how well she did (assuming that she did have a good day!). I then ask her how swimming makes her feel. The vast majority of the time she responds with, “Happy, Mommy!”
It truly has been amazing watching my daughter’s swimming and language abilities explode over the past year at Goldfish Swim School. I am fascinated each week as she demonstrates the ability to do more independently and need me just a little bit less.
The Details: We are currently in the Goldfish Mini 2 class at Goldfish Swim School. We attend lessons at the Goldfish Swim School in Dublin, Ohio. Check out the link for location, address/telephone details and how to sign up for lessons.
Disclaimer: We were provided free swimming lessons by Goldfish Swim School in exchange for collaborating blog posts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.