5 things to consider when choosing a swim school
There are so many swim schools out there for babies and children, and it's hard to know which one best suits your needs. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you choose the one that suits you the most.
1. Do you have a swimming goal for your baby or child?
Some parents want their child to be happy splashing in shallow water in time for a holiday they've booked, some parents want their child to swim 25m without help, and others want their child to be the next Olympic swimmer! Your goal for your child will influence the swim school you choose, and help you make sense of what each swim school offers.
2. How long do you hope to continue lessons?
Following on from the point above, it is worth pointing out that some swim schools specialise only in baby swimming, with children graduating from the school aged three or four. Other swim schools train children up so that they can join a competitive swimming club or squad they are affiliated with at a later date. At Turtles, we teach babies, toddlers, children and adults for learn to swim, stroke improvement and stamina training. It is worth pointing out that specialist baby swim schools don't have the same incentive to get children swimming above the water with a good technique - they pass that baton on to the swim school the child joins next (more about that here).
3. How do you feel about putting your baby under the water?
The expectation with many swim schools is that you will be willing to put your little one under the water from lesson one, which doesn't suit every baby or every parent. It's worth finding out about the stance taken by the swim school you choose - and don't be afraid to question your child's teacher if there is anything that doesn't feel one hundred percent right to you. Remember, submersion really isn't the most important thing about teaching a baby to swim, and a number of swim schools are moving away from parent-led submersion towards a more child-led swimming experience for babies.
4. What is your budget?
This is an important one - swimming lessons can cost anything from £5 to £20 per lesson, especially in London! Some parents choose an expensive swim school for a term or so, in the hopes that it will give their babies a good start. But one or two terms doesn't always make a long term impact on how a child learns to swim. I currently teach a lovely two and a half year old who had classes with a large baby swimming franchise for the first year of his life, followed by a year and a half with no lessons. When he started with me he was terrified of the water - more scared than children his age in the same group who hadn't been in the water at all. It didn't take long to get him water confident, but it was definitely a setback - it is best to choose classes you can commit to financially for the long term.
5. How confident are you in the water?
Make sure you find an instructor who can make you feel at ease and help you out with tasks you're unsure about if you aren't completely happy in the water. Chat things through and get a feel to how sympathetic your instructor is, and how willing they are to adapt lessons to suit you.
There are loads of great swim schools out there - it's just a matter of finding the one that works for you! Don't hesitate to send me an email if you'd like to consider Turtles Swim School!