Week 5 - Setting up your pool area.
How do you currently set your pool area up? Do you have the whole pool available to yourself? Can you store your equipment in one place bring or must you being it each time you teach? Do you provide your own equipment or share it with other teachers? Is it your own pool or do you rent the space?
All these factors need to be considered when putting your lesson plans together and deciding what equipment and props you can use.
What are the essentials?
We rent our pools and have other swim schools using the same facilities. Therefore, I choose my equipment according to the fact that I have to bring all my gear each time I teach.
Due to our swimming school being play based and using different themed lessons throughout the year, I choose my equipment so it can be used multiple times and cross over to use with different themes. I do purchase specific items that can only be used for a particular theme but I know I will be using them for many years to come.
Here is a list of the essential items I would recommend which will set you are really well if you are starting out to become a themed, play-based swim school:
Multi coloured ball pit balls
Multi coloured ping pong balls
White ping pong balls
Sprinkle stacking cups
Water wheel toy
Plastics plates, cups, bowls
Colourful eggs (or I re-use Kinder eggs)
Big floats with holes in and can connect
Colourful EVA foam sheets
With these essential items you can transform your lessons in to a water wonderland for your children. All you need to add is your imagination and playfulness!
A white ping pong ball can be snow balls, bunny tails, monster eyes.
Sensory balls can be orbs, fireworks or conkers.
Sensory scarves could be fire flames, sea weed or rainbows.
The buckets can be used to go fishing, pond dipping, or to collect treasure.
The sprinkle toys are to wash their cars, pretend its raining or washing their hair.
And the list goes on.
How to set up the pool:
Stations placed around the pool or in the water with different equipment at them work really well. This enables the children to have time to explore and find things at their own pace. I always have a confidence station too where the children can go if they are feeling nervous, need some time to adjust or to explore the properties of water.
Here is an example:
Dinosaur theme (from Bundle 3)
I use the different levels of the pool area - using the walls (for example to place foam cut out dinosaurs on them), the ledges (to place the dinosaurs figures around), the stairs (for the eggs and dive down toys). I use the big floats in the water and have things floating in the water at different times during the lessons. Items are under the water at certain parts of the lesson, and I have a few games for the older children that involves getting out of the pool to get something from the building walls.
Extra items (not on the list above) for the dinosaur theme:
Second hand dinosaur figures (large) and mini dino's (for the eggs)
Dinosaur bath toys
You don't necessarily need to use both.
When you place the items in specific areas of the pool it means the children have to move to get to what they want, so they are practicing a swimming skill whilst focusing on the fun theme or activity you have designed for them. The more they move the more they learn. Also I use certain props to encourage a child to practice a particular skill which they might be reluctant to do, this helps to distract them and therefore the success rate is higher than just asking them to do it. For example: practising breath control I use an egg with a dino inside and encourage the children use "magic bubbles to hatch the egg". Children love opening things and having an element of surprise. It works a treat, especially for those that are reluctant.
Using the Bones of it lesson plan will guide you to determine which activities and equipment/props will help you teach the children each swimming skill.
In my SWIM Zone Fundamentals course in 2022 we will discuss more ideas to make it easier for you to teach the different skills which the children will love. They have all been tried and tested many times with lots of children.
I have tried and tested well over 60 different themes that you can choose from. We have 35 themed lesson idea activity sheets available immediately for you and more will be available in 2022.
Click here to view them