This research update is part of a four year study on the benefits of swimming to children less than five years of age.
Researchers from the Griffith Institute for Educational Research consulted parents of 7000 under-fives from Australia, New Zealand and the US.
A further 180 children aged 3, 4 and 5 years were involved in intensive testing, making this study the world’s most comprehensive study into early-years swimming.
The study is a joint project between Griffith University, Kids Alive Swim Program and Swim Australia.
The skill-sets of children who swim were compared to the skill-sets of those do not.
Since swimming is a physical exercise, it is obvious that the kids who swim would show better skills at physical abilities like hopping, walking, running, or climbing stairs. The pleasant surprise—one that is of interest to parents, educators, and policy makers— is that the children also score much better on visual motor skills such as cutting paper, colouring in and drawing lines, gross motor stationery skills like standing on tiptoes, standing on one foot, self-expression skills such as speaking and explaining things, and even on mathematical reasoning skills. These children were even able to understand and communicate directions better
The study found that both boys as well as girls benefited from swimming. Also children from the higher social strata had easier access to swimming pools and hence were able to reap the benefits where as children from lower strata did not have much access to the facilities. But swimming helped a rich kid as much it helped a poor kid, once both got into the pool.
So let your kid go for a swim…he may turn out to be a Michael Phelps and an Einstien, rolled into one.