Swimming and school

Did your children go back to school or start school in the past fortnight? Did you know that children who are learning to swim actually may do better at school?
A study conducted by Griffith University suggests that swimming children are not only safer, but smarter. The research conducted over four years has concluded that children who swim demonstrate more advanced cognitive and physical abilities than other children, and indicates that swimming children have many advantages when starting school. Lead researcher Professor Robyn Jorgensen said “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. The children were anywhere from six to 15 months ahead of the normal population when it came to cognitive skills, problem solving in mathematics, counting, language and following instructions.” Professor Jorgensen said that as well as achieving physical milestones faster, the swimming children scored significantly better in visual-motor skills such as cutting paper, colouring in and drawing lines and shapes. She added “On average, these children were eleven months ahead of the normal population in Oral Expression, six months ahead in Mathematics Reasoning and two months ahead in Brief Reading. Most amazing was the difference in Story Recall (17 months ahead) and Understanding Directions (20 months ahead).” While on the subject of school, many children (and parents) will this month experience their first school swimming carnival. I remember my school carnival days very fondly, but while they are great fun, remember the water and sun safety basics still apply. Sunscreen is not optional and needs to be reapplied several times throughout the day. A broad rimmed hat, polo shirt and zinc in their house colour is ideal for further sun protection. Food, lots of water, a card game or book for the sometimes long waits between age groups and 2 towels (1 to use and 1 to sit on) are always handy, as is a waterproof bag to bring everything home. Always follow the instructions of the race official, and only enter the water when instructed to do so. And remember, hair sprayed in house colour/s may look great, but you probably won’t be allowed in the pool! Encourage your child to take the plunge – a high student participation rate makes for a fun and exciting day for all!
Good luck to all and race well, and if your children are not yet in swimming lessons, make this your year to start their swimming journey!