I read so many blog posts where various swimming schools send bloggers and their child out on a free trial for a term to learn to swim. This isn’t one of those posts. I don’t really review things on here that often, and this isn’t a review.
We’re lucky we can afford to pay for H to have lessons, and she has since she was nine months to a year old. We’ve changed teachers a few times, but kept our lessons on the same day.
Swimming has to be one of the best things we’ve done with H. Her first lessons were as a baby in the water singing nursery rhymes and bobbing her around – there was no underwater swimming in these lessons, just getting our babies used to the idea that they can have fun in the water and it isn’t about bathtime.
In fact, that pretty much continued until she was old enough to go into the pool on her own – something I wasn’t ready for, but something she was more than ready to do!
After that it was seven children to one teacher, a number which felt quite high but is apparently the maximum you can have at that age. Our local pool has a coloured hat guide, the red hat seems to cover Duckling Badges 1, 2 and 3, as well as Stage 1. Once you get your Stage 1 you move up to the Orange hats which encourages even more independent swimming.
There’s quite a difference between the red and orange hat groups too. A lot of the time in red I’ve noticed it’s about listening to the teacher and swimming when they request you to come forward (or take you around the pool), building up your discipline and water confidence, whereas with orange it’s swimming alongside the rest of your class but listening to what the teacher asks you to do.
Right now H can swim almost a length underwater which is a huge deal to me – I used to be able to do this. She likes to stand up in the pool to have air at intervals, so hasn’t got the hang of swimming and bobbing her head up, so that’s what they’re working on right now. I know we’re still a way off that and I’m in no hurry – according to the guidelines children heading towards their fifth birthday are moved into the orange hat group, so I know she moved up early. I’d like to think this was down to having good discipline in the water from previous lessons. A year or two in the orange hat groups would be wonderful, but of course the teacher then goes and spoils it by giving me a wobble.
Last week they went into the main pool!!
They all jumped in and were guided to the side by the teacher but it was TERRIFYING (in a scary but proud sort of way) – H looked like she was going to jump before the teacher was there which was very very scary (for me) but listened and waited. She did it fine, and coming from the little girl who used to be scared of jumping in the pool in our last lessons we had (in a different pool), I’m really proud how much she’s come on.
If you’re thinking of starting swimming lessons, send your child when they’re as young as possible if you can. It’s when you hear stories about schools going to the pool and some children have a terrible fear of swimming that you realise how valuable these lessons will be as she gets older. Even just going to the pool and having a play is a huge advantage.
I know I have my mum’s fear of water which has probably given me my fear of deep water. In H’s life I’m trying to put right the things I feel are wrong about mine – this one was a nice straightforward one to do. Phew.