- Written by Super User
Kenyan infants have a chance to learn how to swim thanks to Baby Swimming Nairobi, a class taught to children as young as four months that could in the long run see them reach developmental milestones earlier than their counterparts who do not swim.
Baby Swimming Nairobi was launched early last year in a bid to fill a much needed gap.
“When I came to Kenya I noticed that there were not many opportunities for babies to learn how to swim. Coming from The Netherlands where children start swimming even as young as three months, I just decided to introduce it,” said Rinske Van Erp.
According to research done by the Griffith University in 2012, infants who start swimming from an early age are able to achieve a wide range of skills earlier than most other children.
“Many of these skills are those that help young children into the transition into formal learning contexts such as pre-school or school,” said lead researcher Professor Robyn Jorgensen.
The study found out that the children were able to achieve physical milestones at an earlier age and also performed notable better in visual-motor skills such as cutting paper and many mathematically-related tasks. Their oral-expression, literacy and numeracy skills were also better off.
Herself a trained swimming instructor, Rinske says that it is easier to teach infants how to swim because they have not yet forgotten the feeling of being in 'water' and how to float due to the pregnancy.
The baby swimming classes take place on a weekly basis whereby children are involved in various games and exercises.
“We start and finish the classes with a song so that the children are able to register the beginning and end. We also do games such as jumping in the pool, swimming under water or even letting them free swim sometimes,” said Rinske.
The babies, who are always accompanied by an adult swim for only 30 minutes due to their short attention span. Rinske even encourages those with twins to bring them along as she can help out depending on how well the baby can cope with new faces.
Baby Swimming Nairobi occurs in a temperature controlled pool which despite being slightly colder than what most adults might be used to, is alright for the baby.
“The slight cold is good for the baby because it keeps them alert and awake,” said Rinske.
Catering strictly to babies and toddlers, the swimming classes take place every Sunday morning from 10.30am to noon.
“Babies aged four to eighteen months swim in the first session while those aged eighteen months to four years are in the second session,” said Rinske.
Normally costing Sh7000 for ten classes per child, Rinske will on Sunday January 10, 2015 hold a trial class which will cost Sh300 per child. The classes take place at Heri Heights Serviced Apartments on Kolobot Drive which is off Arboretum Road. Those with older children are still encouraged to bring them along as there is a play area.