Children who swim are safer, smarter and stronger
As a parent I’ve always suspected that swimming has helped my children in other areas, however there is now scientific evidence to support my assumption. Research conducted by Griffith University over four years has concluded that children who swim demonstrate more advanced cognitive and physical abilities than other children.
During the project, entitled “Early Years Swimming, Adding Capital to Young Australians”, researchers surveyed parents of 7000 children aged five years old and under from Australia, New Zealand and the US. The Australian component included observing more than 120 swimming lessons in 40 swim schools nationwide. Parents reported back on their children’s development and the information was weighed against the expected progression of children through established milestones. To overcome inevitable parental bias, a core group of 176 three, four and five-year-old children was involved in a more intensive assessment process using internationally approved testing methods.
The study 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. He 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).” Not a bad extra from an activity that also promotes health and safety!