What to look for in swimming lessons – and what to avoid. Here’s our guide to picking the right swim school.
First off – recognise that swimming lessons are unique. When you hand your child over to a teacher in a pool, you’re not just looking for a class they can learn in; you need to be absolutely confident that your child’s safety will be treated as the single most important thing for the course of that lesson. Of course kids need to be looked after properly in every situation, but in the pool it’s paramount that they are kept safe for every second of the class.
Talk to the swimming teacher or the school management – it’s the single best way to put your own mind at ease. Have a conversation. Ask questions. No responsible swimming teacher will have any objection to you asking as many questions as you like, nor to you watching a lesson before you agreed to go ahead yourself. After all, you are handing over your child to their care in what is – in the wrong hands – potentially a dangerous environment.
Questions you might want to ask could include:
* Is the teacher qualified, and if so, by whom?
* Do they have experience in teaching children of my child’s age?
* Does the school provide life-saving safety education alongside excellent swimming instruction?
* How long have they been operating?
* Are they an official business?
* Is there a website or social media platform where I can verify this school’s reputation?
And talk to the teacher or the school representative about what you are looking for from swimming lessons, and find out what to expect.
Tell the teacher about your child, whether they have any fears or concerns about lessons, what they’ve done so far in other lessons, if they like swimming or not.
Good teachers will be keen to hear as much information as possible – it helps us do our best for your child.
Successful swimming lessons are a result of an ongoing collaboration between the child, the teacher and school, and the parent.
The more in sync everyone involved is, the better the outcome.
Finally: trust your instincts. Even if you’re not a swimmer yourself, you know your child, and when picking a swim school, go with what feels right.
We’ve had kids come to our classes directly from lessons with ‘teachers’ who have upset or traumatised the student. In some cases children have even been held under the water by these teachers.
We can’t emphasise enough, THIS IS NOT RIGHT.
Please don’t begin, or continue with, any classes that make your child afraid or upset in any way.
Swimming lessons should be fun, not distressing. And bear in mind that a professional and trustworthy swimming teacher will never have any issues with you being there for the lesson – if you are told otherwise, please do not go ahead with those classes. Your swimming teacher should insist that a parent or guardian is always present during lessons.