1. Safe Entry and Independent Monkey Walk
Why: To ensure that all students enter the pool and monkey walk to safety.
How: Have students sit on the edge of the pool, roll to their bellies and slide. You may practice this all at once or one at a time depending on the comfort of the class. Once they are all hanging onto the wall they can monkey walk as a group to the dock, or around the corner.
2. Conditioning with the Noodle Fountain
Why: To increase breath control and prepare students to submerge.
How: Use a hollow noodle to create a water fountain by pressing it up against a pool jet. Gently pour water over the student’s heads. Use a que such as 1 – 2 – 3 or ready set go and then gently pour the water from the back of the student’s head to the front. Let the water wash over their face and encourage them to close their eyes and mouths to practice breath control.
3. Kick, Kick, Kick with Equipment
Why: To encourage independent movement through kicking.
How: Have students place both hands together and support them under the arms and /or waist as they kick to the dock, stairs or wall. Try to release your hold as they near the target to encourage them to the kick independently!
4. Independent Back Float
Why: To achieve buoyancy, balance and relaxation in the water.
How: Encourage the students to lie back and relax while submerging their ears and looking up. Once on their backs practice removing one hand at a time to gauge whether or not students are ready to float independently!
5. Independent Front Float
Why: To achieve buoyancy, balance, breath control and relaxation in the water.
How: Support the students one at a time by placing your hands under their body for support. Encourage them to put their face in the water step by step. Starting with submerging their chin, lips, nose and then eyes. Release your hold when the student is relaxed and has breath control.
6. Independent Swim to the Teacher
Why: For the student to display comfort and confidence with breath control and short swims.
How: It is far less intimidating for a beginner swimmer to swim to a teacher vs. the wall, dock or stairs. Position yourself so that you are facing the class and have the swimmers push off the dock or stairs and swim to you. Holding hands is typical of swimmers at the beginning of this level.
7. Underwater Exploration
Why: To allow the student to practice breath control and gain comfort and confidence with water poured over their head.
How: Give each student a cup or watering can and allow the to explore pouring the water over their heads. Encourage them to close their eyes and mouths to practice breath control. If they are really comfortable encourage them to submerge step by step. Beginning with their chin, lips, nose, eyes and whole head.
8. JUMP, TURN and CLIMB
Why: To teach students to jump in, turn, swim to safety and climb out.
How: Have students monkey walk to a designated area and climb out of the pool. Once there have them stand on the edge of the pool. Position yourself to the side of the student and one at a time encourage them to jump in, submerge, turn and swim to safety.
In a Corner – 1 dock for continuous movement. Kick to the Wall, Monkey Walk Around the Corner and walk across the dock.
At the Stairs – 1 dock for continuous movement. Kick to the dock, walk across the dock and monkey walk back to the stairs ( or move in reverse).
In a Lane – 2 docks for continuous movement. Kick to the wall, monkey walk to the dock, walk across one dock then slide to the next and walk across again.