The day you find your tribe
I always loved teaching swimming, right from when I started volunteering to be a poolside helper when I was in my teens, and I qualified as a swimming teacher as soon as I possibly could at sixteen. When I trained as a primary school teacher in my twenties, and found my niche teaching children in the younger classes.
Teaching Parent and Child classes was something I really enjoyed, but I didn't feel one hundred percent confident in what I was doing when I was younger. Over the years, I started to research the different techniques and skills you can use when it comes to babies, but something just didn't feel quite right. I trained as a Parent and Child specialist teacher with the Amateur Swimming Association, but it still felt like something was missing from my lessons - I felt one hundred percent confident in my ability to teach children and adults to swim and always got great results, but when it came to babies I wasn't quite my usual self.
After having my first daughter, I took her to lessons with a large, baby swimming franchise - I thought that maybe I would learn something there that would be the missing link in my Parent and Child teaching. But I found the conditioning-style training and regimented activities uncomfortable to join in with, and there was no way I could see myself teaching in that style.
Eventually, I stumbled upon Birthlight baby swimming techniques - a gentle, baby centred approach that encourages small, progressive steps and teaches parents to become confident enough to really enjoy the water with their babies. I found Jo Wilson's blog (Let's Talk About Baby Swimming) - Jo is a swimming teacher in Rugby who's taught me a huge amount about swimming with babies. I attended some talks by the Danish baby swimming expert Ulrika Faerch and read her blogs and books (Happy Babies Swim) and researched the methods used by the Norwegian baby swimming expert Terje Stakset.
It was like finding my tribe. All of a sudden, I felt energised and enthusiastic about teaching baby swimming again, and I didn't feel that nagging feeling of guilt that I'd felt using the traditional conditioning techniques. Parent and Child teaching has evolved into a genuine passion for me, and I feel so lucky to have met some like minded people along the way!