WHILE JACKIE HENRY WAS BORN IN HAWAII, SHE RELOCATED TO VERO BEACH FROM TACOMA, WASHINGTON, ABOUT 30 MILES SOUTH OF SEATTLE. SHE FINALLY MADE IT BACK TO THE SUN IN VERO BEACH AND IN JULY, 2015 HER VERO BEACH SWIM SCHOOL (VBSS) WAS BORN.
THE MISSION OF VBSS IS TO TEACH AS MANY CHILDREN AS POSSIBLE, MINIMIZE WATER RELATED ACCIDENTS AND LIFE THREATENING WATER ENCOUNTERS.
www.chicagonow.com reported on in October 2013 that drowning is the nation’s second leading cause of accidental death for children under 14. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the summer of 2012 there were 137 child-drowning deaths in the U.S.
While having children learn to swim at a young age reduces the risk of drowning, it is also fun, builds self-esteem and self-confidence, provides the benefits of participating in an individual AND team sport and is something you can do at any age.
But did you know it also accelerates cognitive development, increases memory capacity, expands cerebral communication, enhances neurological development and improves balance and movement.
Jackie Henry so happy to be with one of her students
On December 19, 2012, SWIMkidsUSA posted an article by its president Lana Whitehead entitled “Develop Your Child’s Brain With Swimming,” in which she wrote that scientific studies of young swimmers at the German Sport University Cologne have shown swimming develops a child mentally. Using control groups of baby swimmers compared to babies who had not participated in swimming, children who swam consistently from infancy (three months), as opposed to those who did not, “scored higher on intelligence and problem solving tests when tested at two, three and four years of age, which carried over to academic achievement.”
She also cited how in 2011 researchers in Melbourne, Australia reported intellectual benefits from early swimming lessons. “The scientists determined that children who were taught to swim by five years of age had statistically higher IQs.”
Research has shown that “bilateral cross-patterning” movements are one of the reasons for the higher IQs. Bilateral cross-patterning is using both sides of the body at the same time to perform a function, which is important for activities such as writing, cutting and most gross motor activities. According to Sea Otter Swim Lessons, the more cross-patterning movements that are made, the more nerve fibers develop in the corpus callosum part of the brain.
Lana Whitehead explained that the “corpus callosum part of the brain is a tract of 200 million nerve fibers that connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain and facilitate communication, feedback and modulation from one side of the brain to the other. Cross-patterning movements such as swimming activate both cerebral hemispheres and all four lobes of the brain simultaneously, which can result in heightened cognition and increased ease of learning.”
In fact, the Queensland University School of nursing in Australia is using swimming to help people diagnosed with dementia to access their memories because of how cross-patterning movements aids the brain process.
Additionally, researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Pittsburgh have discovered that the amount of a person’s movements impact the size and memory capacity of the hippocampus (the elongated ridges on the floor of each lateral ventricle of the brain, thought to be the center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system. Source: Google). They concluded that more tissue in the hippocampus results in increased ability of certain types of memory.
Learning to swim at a young age also improves balance and movement, important for improved posture, better athletic performance, better control of muscles and increased body flexibility. Tripping and falling often indicate difficulty with balance.
According to a Harvard Health Publication “weak or inflexible core muscles can impair how well your arms and legs function. And that saps power from many of the moves you make. Properly building up your core cranks up the power. A strong core also enhances balance and stability. Thus, it can help prevent falls and injuries during sports or other activities. In fact, a strong, flexible core underpins almost everything you do.”
Hermudur Signundsson, Professor of Psychology at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NUNU), cited a study in Iceland comparing 19 baby swimmers against a control group of 19 children who had not participated in baby swimming that showed very clearly that baby swimmers were the best in exercises that related to better balance, movement and the ability to reach and grasp things.
The exercises included walking on tiptoes, balancing on one foot, skipping rope, rolling a ball into a goal and catching a beanbag. The results were crystal clear, the researchers said.
Professor Sigmundsson said he “was overwhelmed by what the instructor was able to get the babies to do. The instructor was able to bring three-month-old babies right up to a balanced position, standing on his palm. The babies locked joints – it was amazing to watch.”
Furthermore, swimming at a young age enhances neurological development. Results of research by Dr. Ruth Rice revealed that infants made “significant gains in neurological development, weight gain and mental development” from the tactile stimulation of the nerve pathways of the skin and vestibular nerve cells.
Water has over 600 times the resistance of air. Tactile experiences and interactions in the water are important for overall neural organization.
All of Vero Beach Swim School instructors, including Jackie’s daughter, are Red Cross Certified Lifeguards, CPR certified, and trained in first aid. They also have a rigorous in-program training course, guaranteeing all instructors teach uniformly and safely. VBSS teaches with a unique patented float system allowing children to be comfortable in the water while learning swim skills that could be potentially life saving. During each 30-minute class they teach front crawl, back crawl, elementary back crawl (survival stroke), recovery skills and even some free time at the end of class to play.
The class structure is always the same allowing for skills retention and muscle memory. Their program has outstanding results and is proven to be an effective way to learn in the water while becoming a confident and independent swimmer.
“I like to think my students will always remember me,“ said Jackie, “because everyone can always recall how and when they learned to swim. It is so gratifying to make children feel good and to see ‘them do it,’ after ‘saying you can do it.’”
How about this happy little fellow?
When we visited Jackie at her swim school a parent said: “It is wonderful and has really been able to make my son relax in the water and not be afraid to take the floaties off. In just a few classes he is already showing improvement that we know we just wouldn’t have been able to see without her help. The small class sizes and fun play-time at the end of class definitely help too!
Jackie more serious with one of her students.
Please visit www.verobeachswimschool.com or call 772-492.SWIM (7946) to enroll your child in this enriching program.
Jackie is offering a summer camp for five to nine year old children on Monday thru Friday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Sources: Sea Otter Swim Lessons / Harvard Health Publication /American College of Sports Medicine / www.scienceweekly.com / www.sciencedaily.com / www.sosswim.com / www.chicagonow.com / www.medicalnewstoday.com / Rice, R., “Neurophysiological Development in Premature Neonate Following Stimulation.” Developmental Psychology, 13; 69-76, 1977.