Friday, February 12, 2010
Ready, Set, Swing
A few weeks ago I was overjoyed when one of my students began to swing on his own. Honestly, I’m not the “pushing” teacher. I’d much rather play tag than to stand behind a swing and push for an hour. I’m also convinced they’ll never want to learn if I’m there pushing anyway. That goes for bike riding as well (but that’s for another post on another day).
While swinging along side my star pupil I was reminded of how his determination for swinging began. For the next few weeks I noticed a distinct pattern in which children go from tummy swinging to full on pumping on their own. Here are my fabulous finds. See if you’ve noticed this similar pattern.
Step 1: First, the child will attempt to sit in the swing. If they can sit in the swing they
quickly notice there is not motion besides sitting and either leaves or moves to
Step 2: The child lies their tummy on the swing and attempts to swing back and forth.
Step 3: After there is little motion with tummy swinging; the child learn to run just enough
cause a constant motion and with legs bent upward will have an enjoyable
swinging experience for some time.
Step 4: Once the child has mastered tummy swinging or their legs are too long to
accommodate tummy swinging the child will move on to again getting into the
swing. They will again look for someone to push for them.
Step 5: The child in step 5 understands there is a concept to swinging and will wildly
swing his/her legs back and forward realizing this does create some kind of
motion, but still barely moving enough to be satisfied.
Step 6: This step usually takes some prompting from an adult. I usually say the words,
“legs forward”, and “back”. “Go forward” Now “go back”. This is quite funny since
they tend to get confused as to when the legs should be going forward and
Step 7: This child understands their own body movement is creating the swinging
motion. He/She has the mechanics down and is moving in a constant motion.
Step 8: The Professional Swinging Student has mastered all the above steps and is now
legs forward leaning back, and legs bent with his/her back arch to make the
swing go higher.
Note: This is not the rule for smaller preschoolers. I will bend my non-pushing rule for toddlers but by
four I only give small pushes for those attempting to swing on their own. And in
this case I’m constantly repeating...”forward and back” with lots of cheers and
Now go out and swing today!