Why We Use Positive Reinforcement with Our Little Fishes


If you’ve been to our Facebook page, you’ve probably seen photos of our little fish proudly showing off their most recent level-completion ribbons. While they do make for adorable photo ops, that’s not the only reason we hand out ribbons when the children succeed. At Little Fishes Swim School, we offer a customized curriculum for every age and skill-level. For instance, infants, babies, and toddlers—up to 2 ½-years-old—have three separate classes based on age. Beyond that, our classes are categorized by swimmer level which is based more on skill. These levels include: acclimation, beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, and Olympian.

As you can imagine, reaching the next level is a huge milestone for our little fish. That’s why we make such a big deal out of it. When little Addison—who is an advanced beginner—meets the goals she’s been working so hard to reach, she moves up to intermediate level classes. And so, she receives a ribbon—along with lots of praise—and gets her photo taken with her reward.

Receiving a ribbon is a form of positive reinforcement which we wholeheartedly believe in. When a kiddo gets a ribbon, it helps them feel good about the new skill they’ve achieved. Each swimmer level is represented by a uniquely colored ribbon which acts as visual motivation for the child. They know which color ribbon is coming next and they are motivated to work for it!

Positive reinforcement and praise results in both short-term and long-term benefits; it allows children to learn habits that will be valuable throughout their lives. And we can say from experience—it works. Our little fish couldn’t be more motivated to reach the next level and receive their new, shiny ribbon. It’s a great way to prep them for future goals, while letting them know they’re doing a great job on the way to achieving them.