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Are private swimming lessons worth the extra cost for a non-swimming 4 year old?

(56 Posts)
Aderyn Wed 10-Jan-07 09:40:59

My dd1 is 4. We take her swimming and she moves about with arm bands on but she's nowhere near to being able to swim (keeo herself afloat) unaided.

I need to enrol her in lessons. We have a public leisure centre near us where the lessons are supposed to be good. But they make the enrolment process so bloody difficult. They run lessons in 14 week blocks. Enrolment takes place during one set week. If you're not already enrolled, you have to hope they have places and go through the enrolment process anyway, just to get on the waiting list.

Alternatively, there is a woman near to us who has a private pool who offers lessons in very small groups at £10 per week (half an hour)

It's more than I would like to pay but if it were only for a limited time, I wouldn't mind.

Would it be abnormal to use the private lessons to get dd1 swimming unaided. And then once she is swimming unaided, we would regularly go to the public swimming pool with her and dd2.

All advice and opinions welcome.

Madora Wed 10-Jan-07 09:49:53

Private lessons usually have smaller teaching groups which is a good thing ime as the child doesn't have to spend ages waiting at the side while the teacher helps each child along.

Whichever you choose you still will need to take her swimming yourself in between lessons if you want her to progress (at least once a week). Best of luck>

jampots Wed 10-Jan-07 09:51:49

i would have thought that was normal enrollment procedure for a public pool. If ytou can afford it go with the private ones but you cant guarantee she'll pick it up quicker. Im learning at 38!!!! having had many years of lessons

nailpolish Wed 10-Jan-07 09:52:23

i had a thread about this before, and everyone agreed it is worth extra cost

i would say go for it

figroll Wed 10-Jan-07 09:56:11

We plonked my dd into water at 3.5 years old and it took her 3 years to learn to swim. The second one started at 5.5 and she could do a good doggy paddle in 6 months, so at 4 I don't think you need worry too much yet - but I am sure others will disagree!

We used the public swimming pool and have always been very pleased with it. There is a lot of demand for the younger places and that is why they only have one week for enrolment of newcomers. Why not put her name down on the waiting list and then just enrol her when her name comes up. £10 a week sounds a lot to me for swimming and may be aimed at the very frightened? Just a thought.

Aderyn Wed 10-Jan-07 09:58:57

That's what I would like to be able to do. Add her name to a waiting list and then enrol when she gets to the top of it. But they don't do it that way.

It's not a huge hassle. It just set me off looking into other options and now I am trying to figure out which route to go. She's a nervous type of 4 year old, that's partly why I am considering the smaller classes.

mellowma Wed 10-Jan-07 10:06:48

Message withdrawn

nailpolish Wed 10-Jan-07 10:08:16

for £10 i would imagine its one to one with the teacher

thats what it is here anyway

and because of that you can change times and days if necessary, go once or twice a week, whatever

Madora Wed 10-Jan-07 10:12:15

here it is ten pounds for half an hour in a class of three or five pounds at the public pool for half an hour in a class of 8. I have tried both routes and recommend provate to get them going, followed up by public pool when they are confident.

Ladymuck Wed 10-Jan-07 10:17:00

I pay £7 for 15 minutes one to one. ds2 was swimming unaided after 2 terms, and is happy doing lengths on front and back at 3.6. Personally I would always go for one to one rather than group, but obviously this depends on if you can get it!

Aderyn Wed 10-Jan-07 10:17:33

It's £10 for a half an hour lesson in a very small group.

How long does it take for a child to learn to swim? Or is that like asking how long is a piece of string?

magicfarawaytree Wed 10-Jan-07 10:36:54

your local leisure centre should also run holday swim courses which though competitive are much easier to get onto. you could try her on one of these ie at half term the will do half an hour a day for the full week. one of mine loved it the other didnt.

batters Wed 10-Jan-07 10:52:30

Aderyn, my dd had one to one lessons every morning for a week when she was 7 years old. It really helped her. It motivated her and gave her confidence and just as importantly it helped her enjoy swimming.

It cost about £12 for a half an hour lesson. This was in central London though. Also the instructor was fab, a young woman whom dd adored. I can imagine that if the instructor isn't that good, the child won't get much out of the class.

poppiesinaline Wed 10-Jan-07 11:30:27

I would say it is worth it.

DS1 had public swimming lessons (in large group) for years and at 9 he was still unable to swim.

Then I sent him on one to one sessions for 8 weeks and now he is swimming brilliantly.


Wish I had sent him to one to one lessons earlier or smaller classes. The large classes were a waste of time and money for us.

Budababe Wed 10-Jan-07 11:38:11

Have just started my DS on one-one this week. He is 5. Went swimming with nursery and when in reception to a hotel swimming pool which was shallow - after initially not enjoying it, he ended up loving it. However now he is in Yr 1 they use a different pool and he hates it as the pool is deeper. I kept him off a few times as he was so worried about it. (Not ideal I know but I had a bad experience myself at 6 during swimming lessons in a big group so didn't want him put off for life).

So I would say it is worth it for the private lessons.

Bumblelion Wed 10-Jan-07 11:48:59

My DD has been having swimming lessons for two terms now and has just completed her 10 metres swimming badge (unaided) - she was 5 in October but has special needs.

She currently has 1/2 hour on a Saturday, one teacher to 3 children.

I did try her with one-to-one teaching but for my DD to be continuously swimming (or near enough continual) for 1/2 hour was too tiring for her.

By having 3 children in a class, the teacher normally takes 2 children off swimming a time while the other one rests. It means that my DD might do two (part) lengths of the pool, one with one child, one with the other child and then have a few minutes rest. I found that the continual lesson was a bit too much for her.

The teacher is in the pool with the children and they never use any swimming aids to help the children, no arm bands, etc. To help the child learn to swim the teacher started off by holding my DD under, say, her arms while teaching her backstroke.

When my elder 2 started learning to swim, the swim school used arm bands or swim vest (two pieces of string with floats attached and as the child learns bouyancy the floats are taken off one by one). It was only when I started with the swim school that my youngest DD now goes to that they both learn to swim unaided and progressed through their badges fairly easily.

They start off with building water confidence (my DD was very confident in the water at a young age, swimming under the water - just couldn't swim on top!).

At our swim school, when the child has done their 1000 metres, if they wish they can join the competitive swimming club.

Each time my eldest 2 completed their 1000 metres, they stopped lessons as neither of them have the competitive streak in them required to participate competitively.

kslatts Wed 10-Jan-07 12:18:29

I used to pay £13 per child for 20 minute sessions one-to-one, but stopped the lessons when I was made redundant last year, since then my dd's (aged 7 and 4) have been to group lessons at the local swimming pool which cost about £25 for a 10 week course. DD1 seems to swim better in a group than she did in the private lessons so I don't think private lessons are really worth the extra money.

sunnysideup Wed 10-Jan-07 12:47:36

we pay £9 per half hour, one to one for ds. It's been absolutely brilliant, he is four and can now swim unaided (not massive distances, but he can do it) and that is one 'term' of lessons. It's brought him on amazingly.

At his age though the only thing I would say is that one to one is full on, he does find it tiring! But he just tells the teacher he's going to sit on the step for a rest when he needs to.

I'd say go for it. For a limited time if you can afford it I'm sure it's the best way to go.

Ladymuck Wed 10-Jan-07 14:29:42

Agree that one to one is full-on! 15 minutes is fine for us.

MilaMae Fri 16-Feb-07 17:33:53

Thanks all ,has really helped. Do you think i'd be pushing my luck with my 3 year old twins having a 1/2 hour lesson in the morning and pre-school in the afternoon?????

amidaiwish Fri 16-Feb-07 18:07:58

haven't read whole thread, but to answer OP
we pay £120 a term for a lesson with 6 children and one teacher - teacher in the water.
so i guess that is £10 a lesson?
it is in a private health club/gym we belong to.

Ladymuck Fri 16-Feb-07 18:12:11

They may need a short nap at some point . It depends whether it is part of a class or one on one (or even one on two). If they are taking it in turns over 30 minutes with say 5 other children then they won't be as tired as if they were doing 30 minutes non-stop swimming.

lapsedrunner Fri 16-Feb-07 18:49:38

DS started a class when he had just turned 4, the emphasis was on play/confidence in the water. It was a big class, he went with a friend and didn't really concentrate. That being said his confidence did improve.
We have now started a course with 3 other friends so 4 children to 1 instructor. It's one hour long and costs 8euros each (about 5.60 pound) plus pool entry. One to one would cost 30euros (about 21 pounds). I would agree the smaller the class the better but don't expect proper swimming just yet.
MilaMae - I reckon swimming followed by pre school might be a bit much.

Yorkiegirl Fri 16-Feb-07 18:53:12

Message withdrawn

crunchie Fri 16-Feb-07 18:59:02

It depends on the child IMHO Personally at 4 I think not worth the money as there are issues as to strength, coordination etc I would look at public swimming for a while. Ratios are pretty strict, my kids used to be in a class of 8 with 2 instucters, one in the pool.

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