Staying cool in the pool

Swimming has always been one of my favourite things to do during the summer months and it isn’t often I have the opportunity to go swimming during the winter. Recently, however, I had the opportunity to expand upon my role as the YMCA Childcare Administrator by participating in recreational swim time with the adventurous children of the Saddletowne Child Development Centre. I had such a great time experiencing how the children and staff interacted with one another in the playful and exciting pool environment.

When people imagine young children in the pool they can easily envision a formal lesson or playful splashing fun. What I saw was a wonderful combination of children having fun while also having an educational experience. Children encouraged each other to try new things such as jumping off the ledge into the water or using the slide to enter the pool. Some children were a bit timid but, with encouragement and support from their teachers and friends, everyone either took the leap or slide. And, most importantly, everyone had a great time and experienced a true sense of accomplishment.

What I found most interesting during my time in the pool was how the caregivers blended play with the teaching of water safety habits – walk on the pool deck to avoid injury, jump into the pool feet first, sit on your bottom to use the slide and tips for floating while wearing a life jacket. All of this was accomplished with gentle reminders inserted at just the right moment during activity time.

I really enjoyed making some new friends and look forward to the next time an opportunity presents itself for me to join one of our childcare groups on a play-filled adventure.

YMCA Calgary currently operates three licensed childcare centres. Days are filled with intentional play-based activities that provide for developmentally appropriate learning opportunities. Recreational swim time is one way we support young children to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.