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Blog guest: Bojan Crnojački – The pool as a playground (Swimming as a child’s play)

When he was still at the university, he was one of the best and most proactive students, and at the same time employed by then best marketing agency in Novi Sad (Serbia) and beyond. Inspired by child’s play, imagination and various sport activities, in 2008 he launched a sport school “Olee!” for children from prenatal period to 14 years of age.

For Swimming Dad as a #Blog guest, Bojan Crnojački is telling us what brings together swimming and child’s play, and what makes them different from each other, how important water and water environment are for the development of children from an early age and also how we can play at the playground – swimming pool.

Imagine that the pool was your only playground – how would you play there?

While reading this question my thoughts took me back to my childhood and the period when I was a kid. When my parents were about to take me to the pool, I would feel so excited I couldn’t

wait. I would spend hours getting ready and making plans for some jokes and tricks before we went to the pool. When I was a kid, the pool was a great playground for me and I loved it. In adulthood I managed to keep that genuine child’s spirit which was basically a trigger for a good fun and a bit less serious mischief. It’s still the same.

Let’s get back to the question.

If I picture the swimming pool as a big playground, then it requires a bit of imagination and a fusion of fun components on the ground and in the water. Apart from everyday swimming, diving to exhaustion and jumps which could be filed under the column Believe It or Not, I would like to add a few accompanying details. These accompanying details would include a lot of slides, mats for running on the water, cannons, baskets, goal boxes, underwater tunnels, water trampolines…

I would spend a lot of precious time to think of the way how to run on the water.

What rules would the children need to follow at your pool so that they could learn something?

The only rule would be the rule of friendship. Gowning up by playing in the streets with my friends was the best childhood experience I could ever think of. This is why I would just like to copy-paste here the same invisible rules we all followed as kids. Being each other fiends no matter what, and being always there for your friends. At my playground, the children would learn how to play, respect each other and grow up together. Every child would feel that he/she belongs there and that they could identify with our team at the place we all find most important.All the things coming after it would be simple. You go home to sleep and the next morning you come running to your favourite playground with a smile.

What are the things that swimming and child’s play have in common, and what makes them different? (from your experience in working with children)

Once a child gets rid of the fear of water, gains self-confidence and masters the basic swimming

techniques, the true magic begins. Just stand there and observe the child swimming and diving.

You will realise how small things can make you happy and pleased.

Children who are afraid of water need some time to relax and gain trust and self- confidence. They see the pool and swimming as an unknown territory and a danger. This is why it is crucial for children to use fun and play in the water when they are in the programme for overcoming the fear of water. Many children take up swimming because they love the sport and love spending time in the water. By starting competition programmes, more and more accent is put on the results and wining a medal. Unfortunately, they start to enjoy the play less and less.

How much are the water and water surrounding important for a proper development of children, and why?

When growing up, children pass through various developmental stages. The development of motor skills in children is vital in the developmental period up to 7 th year of life. The impact a water surrounding has in early childhood can significantly help a proper development of a child. On the dry, babies cannot move freely. If you put them in the water, the situation will change a lot when it comes to the moves they can make. While overcoming the fear of water a child is gaining self-confidence, which is important for growing up and getting ready for the life in the future. Swimming is an excellent physical activity for making both your body and your spirit strong.

Also, swimming is a good way to prevent and correct deformities.


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