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Swimming lessons.... Do they need to be fun?

(17 Posts)
CheeseEqualsHappiness Wed 12-Nov-14 09:19:16

I am a little torn about my dd's swimming lessons, mostly due to other parent comments which have started me questioning myself.

Dd goes swimming on a weekday (she is 3) after pre school. The lesson consists of swimming up and down the pool using different techniques and floats etc. Dd has gone down to 6 blocks from 8 on her belt and I think 2 more will come off in the next month.

The teacher is not in the pool with them but gives encouragement from the side.

The teacher is quite strict and firm and says dd will be swimming unaided by the summer

There is no play, it is all serious swimming, and this is where I am torn. She had a different teacher for a couple of lessons as the other was on holiday and she was in the water playing with them a lot more.

Do the lessons have to be fun or is strictness and acknowledgement of this as a life skill and that swimming can be dangerous a good approach? The teacher is hard on them when they don't listen to her.

Dd loves it and her teacher so no concerns there

Recovering Wed 12-Nov-14 09:25:29

I wouldn't send my child to a beginners class where the teacher isn't in the pool!!

I think at that age it should be fun but you do say dd loves it. They are basically learning to enjoy the water at that age. Most serious lessons start at 4 (and in my daughters class you couldn't tellwhich had started at 4 and who had already beento lessons for the most part!)

If shes enjoying it and you want to send her that's fine but second time around with mine I'm planning on a fun class with the teacher in the pool!

CheeseEqualsHappiness Wed 12-Nov-14 09:30:42

Thanks! There is another leisure centre up the road where the lessons are much more fun which I may enquire with.

I don't know how common it is for the teacher to be on the side of the pool. There are no safety issues, a lifeguard is sitting on the steps and she had a stick which she holds near them when they are having a go without a belt. (That reads worse than it actually is!)

threepiecesuite Wed 12-Nov-14 09:35:55

My DD has just started. She's 4.5.
The instructor is a youngish lad, he's in the pool with them. It is serious and he makes them work hard for the whole session (1/2 hr) and gets them out of their comfort zone, but seems to make it 'seem' fun and DD is enjoying it. He has little toys for them to blow across the pool (they love this) and fun-shaped floats. He makes them make mermaid shapes and starfish shapes to practice balance and staying afloat.
She's only had 4 lessons but is already down to just one ring on each arm and jumping in.
2 kids in the class, £9 a lesson.

CheeseEqualsHappiness Wed 12-Nov-14 09:37:52

I think that's what's missing - I want the seriousness but the fun too. Dd jumps in and is swimming underwater so is making progress but I wonder if more progress would be made if things were a bit more imaginative eg the mermaid shapes etc.

wonkylegs Wed 12-Nov-14 09:42:52

DSs lessons are a combination of fun but with a strict teacher. She doesn't take kids mucking around or not listening. The early levels the teacher was in the pool with them but now he's progressed and is learning stroke technique rather than the basics she teaches from the poolside.
If your child is enjoying the lessons I wouldn't necessarily change but if that isn't the case I'd think about changing as I wouldn't want to put her off.
For one of the early stages we had an awful teacher, DS actually asked to never go back to him again and we haven't but now he is happy with another instructor. I feel you need to get a balance between ability and being happy being in water.
If she learns to swim unaided very quickly but dreads going in the water then I think you are still only halfway there. I'd rather have a child that took a little longer but begs to go swimming as much as possible (I couldn't get him out of the pool on our summer holidaygrin)

CheeseEqualsHappiness Wed 12-Nov-14 09:54:00

You see this is where I am torn - dd says she loves her teacher and loves swimming, is confident and is progressing well. She is jumping in, attempting swimming unaided, swims on her back, under water, and we also swim for a couple of hours a week with friends and I play with her there which I was thinking probably covers the fun swim element.

It is only comments from the other parents which had made me wonder

youbethemummylion Wed 12-Nov-14 10:00:09

If she is progressing and enjoying it then I would leave her. Just because there is not playing and splashing doesn't mean its not fun if she is enjoying it then surely it is fun for her.

Recovering Wed 12-Nov-14 11:07:54

Three - ours sounds similar.

There is still a teacher in the pool at ours until they are confidently swimming length after length. They can correct stroke, support while trying new positions etc.

zippey Wed 12-Nov-14 11:08:52

As long as she is enjoying it and she is making process, I think its fine. Its ok to give them serious lessons. Like you say it would be better if there was a combination of serious and fun, but maybe this is how really good athletes start taking shape. Most athletes don't compete for "fun".

I don't think its a bad thing that the instructor is not in the pool with them. The instructor will get a better view of the situation from outside the pool. A bit like the difference between a coach on the periphery watching everyone and an actual participant enveloped by what is happening around them.

As an aside, have you thought about taking your child to a pool on your day off to have some fun. Then you're having one serious and one fun session a week.

CheeseEqualsHappiness Wed 12-Nov-14 11:35:40

Zippey - yes I do this already with friends so she has 2 hours in the same pool playing and jumping in every week. And she can swim lengths and they are teaching strokes etc so it sounds like the teacher being on the side is right.

I think I will leave her in, your comments have really helped. I will go by her and keep a check on her feelings about it.

Recovering Wed 12-Nov-14 11:48:09

You say she isnt yet swimming unaided yet she is doing lengths?

Its about stage 4 of ASA our swimming pools move over to poolside tuition, so when they can confidently swim lengths (unaided!) of each stroke, not the preschool class. I honestly wouldn't ever put my child in a preschool class (or any beginners class) where the teacher isn't in the pool. I even went to watch a lesson of each pool I was interested in so I could see the teaching styles. None of them around here would have a teacher not in the pool.

However - the difference is your daughter is already there and enjoying it, and thats what really matters at that age.

CheeseEqualsHappiness Wed 12-Nov-14 16:52:16

I meant she isn't swimming without floats - she does lengths with a tummy band on with 6 blocks. Today they did swimming with a noodle, swimming on her back with a float under each arm, jumping in, trying with no belt in the shallow area, pushing off from the side.

About 8 lengths of the pool today, different ways of swimming with different flotation each time.

CheeseEqualsHappiness Wed 12-Nov-14 16:53:03

She's very speedy when she gets going!

I spoke to the teacher today and she is pleased with her progress...

cheerupandhaveaglassofwine Wed 12-Nov-14 16:59:03

If she likes the teacher, likes going to swimming lessons and is enjoying it and making progress then don't change it

If she wasn't enjoying it and wasn't progressing I would move her, but my 2 seemed to learn better with a strict and no fun teacher than when they spent half the lesson messing and playing with a different instructor

Recovering Wed 12-Nov-14 17:00:39

It sounds fairly normal for a preschool class (different types of floats, pushing off, jumping in etc). Ours also had competitions to get plastic hoops, and blowing fishes across when swimming/balancing on floats as a previous poster, but i'm sure you can learn to swim without the "fun" element and she is enjoying it. I'd suggest different if she wasn't. The only thing that I find odd is that the teacher isn't in with them - but if you're happy with that, and it sounds like your daughter is, then stick with it!

(We usually refer to "doing lengths" as meaning swimming proper strokes unaided, but that might be a local usage so my post may not have been clear)

CheeseEqualsHappiness Thu 13-Nov-14 11:23:10

Ah ok, I haven't heard that usage before smile

Thanks for all the replies!

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