It has long been known that swimming is not only a lifesaving skill, it is a fun, healthy form of exercise. But researchers at Australia’s Griffith University found that swimming lessons actually teach a whole lot more than just bubble blowing and back floats – they give preschoolers a jump start on academics.
In fact, their study showed that kids who took year-round swimming lessons before kindergarten were much better prepared for school, being as much as 20 months ahead of their peers within the same socio-economic groups.*
The study looked at 7,000 children under the age of 5. It turns out, those that took swimming lessons had a competitive edge across all developmental areas, both physical and intellectual.
“While we expected the children to show better physical development and perhaps be more confident through swimming, the results in literacy and numeracy really shocked us,” lead researcher Professor Robyn Jorgensen said.
Preschoolers who took swimming lessons were far ahead of their peers in the following areas:
11 months ahead in Oral Expression
6 months ahead in Mathematics Reasoning
2 months ahead in Brief Reading
17 months ahead in Story Recall
20 months ahead in understanding directions
“These are absolutely staggering results, especially when you consider the average age of the swimming kids we tested was just 50 months,” Professor Jorgensen said.
So, might swimming lessons be the thing to get your child a step ahead of his peers? Absolutely.
Get him prepared for kindergarten? Check.
Advance his motor development skills while having fun? Yep.
Swimming is the one sport where a child learns to thrive in a totally different environment: In the water. While learning swimming skills, a young child is stimulating and developing a whole different area of his young brain.
Additionally, babies can participate in learn-to-swim activities with their parent at their side long before they can walk, supported by warm, soft water that both provides buoyancy and natural muscular resistance to their movements. Talk about a well-rounded workout!
Early childhood swimming opens up opportunities for children to make the most of themselves, getting a jump start on school in a joyful environment. It is indeed an activity that has lifelong health, safety, and academic benefits!
* Griffith University, 2012: https://app.griffith.edu.au/news/2013/08/13/swimming-a-smart-move-for-children/