With Mini-Makos, to help keep everyone safe and successful, we need to have our swimmers able to swim a distance of 5 meters (to just under the backstroke flags) from the edge to a coach completely independently (until they reach the coach). If they can jump off the side and do that, it would be even better. They do not have to know specifics of any stroke, but they must be able to have some sort of forward motion of independent swimming. Our goal is to take the beginner swimmer and prepare them for competition on the big team. You’re child may move up at anytime during the season or stay with the mini-mako program depending on his or her progress during the season.



Understanding Your Five Year Old Swimmers

Understanding your swimmers is one way to improve your teaching skills. Here are some basic thoughts about five year olds to help you teach the five year old swimmers in your class. What follows is a generalization about the five year old. We understand children are individuals and develop at their own pace. This description is meant to be an average representation of five year old children.

Children at age five are delightful little people. They want to be good children and most of the time a five year old is successful at being good. A five year old tends to look at his/her glass, as half full. Generally they are very optimistic about things. This age enjoys life very much and wants to do things just right.

Five year olds use and like to hear positive language; "sure" " fine" "good" and I love ____" are often heard from a five year old. Mothers are still the center of the child’s world and all of this positive behavior puts him/her right were they want to be- close to a happy mom! A five year old adores his/her parents and wants to be with them and enjoyed by them.

Five year olds are very interested in the here and now. They like the familiar – their room, house, street and classroom all are important to them. They do not like new places or strange things and are usually not physically adventurous. They are good at judging what they can and can not do and will resist trying new things until they are certain they can succeed.

A five year old is very proud when he/she receives a compliment from a teacher or another adult. They want to be "just like the grown-ups". Five year olds may not want to try new or strange physical activities but they do want to be challenged intellectually. They like to draw, print their names, learn new vocabulary, and learn to read or spell words.

Five year olds tend to play best in groups of two and they get along best with children in their own age group. With strangers most five year olds are friendly and polite. They enjoy positive attention from adults.

Five year olds are posed and have reasonable physical control of the body. They stand with a tighter stance then four year olds, keeping arms close to the body. They climb well, taking stairs with alternating feet and they are learning to skip. Five year olds like to try roller-skating, riding bikes without training wheels, and walking heel to toe on boards.

Hand eye coordination is improving and five year olds like to practice fine motor skills. Visually, they are better at looking at stationary objects than following moving ones. They tend to focus in and may have trouble understanding a whole movement. Although they can see the total movement, they often get stuck and focus on one aspect of a movement.

What are the implications for five year olds in swimming? Mostly, we have good news; they want to please and can be taught new skills. Remember, five year olds may not be physically adventurous, and to help them try new skills you can provide a step by step approach to challenges. It is interesting to note they do best in pairs when playing; you may want to consider this in your class size. We hope this helps you understand your five year old swimmers’ special needs.

American Learn to Swim Teachers