These days, the overwhelming majority of parents are wholly aware of just how important it is that their own kids learn how to swim and develop strong water safety skills. Interestingly, however, research has shown that up to 40% of kids still do not know how to swim by the time they leave primary school. This is of course something of a shame as not only are swimming skills important in terms of water safety, but swimming is hands down the single most beneficial form of exercise anyone can do.
For parents that decide to enroll their kids in swimming classes, it is important to be aware of the fact that not all swimming schools are of the same standard. It’s not as if there are a great many swimming schools in operation that are not 100% safe and capable, but in the best interests of your kids’ wellbeing and development in general, it is still a good idea to carry out a few checks.
Here’s a quick introduction to eight of the most important questions you should ask before enrolling your kids in swimming classes:
1 – Is Your Swimming School Certified and Licensed?
First of all, it is almost unheard of for any swimming school in the UK to be operating without an abundance of certification and all appropriate licensing. There are certain legal boxes all swimming schools must tick and quite literally about 99.9% of them do exactly that. Nevertheless, it is a subject that is too important to take for granted, therefore, you should always ask about certification and licensing before going ahead.
2 – What Qualifications and Experience Do the Teachers Have?
There are certain qualifications that any swimming teacher must have in order to teach kids how to swim. Nevertheless, there is a big difference between simply having the most basic qualifications necessary and going above and beyond what’s required to obtain further qualifications and certification. And the same also goes for experience as while most newly qualified teachers will be perfectly proficient and capable, those that have been teaching kids for several years are usually the most reassuring.
3 – What Kinds of Class Sizes Do You Operate and How Many Teachers Are There Per Child?
Experts agree that all swimming schools should follow a standard whereby there are never more than 12 children learning to swim for every one qualified teacher. More often than not, swimming schools do their best to keep class sizes small though there will always be those that have as many kids as they can into each class to maximize efficiency for their own benefit, rather that of the kids.
4 – Can You Tell Me About Your Pool Hygiene Practices?
This may sound a little like prying rather deeply into things, but when and where there is a pool that is run to an immaculately high standard, these kinds of questions are welcome. You’re basically looking for reassurance about things like water cleanliness, PH levels and the temperature at which the water is kept. When and where those in charge of any given pool, take unkindly to such questions, it is usually because they would rather you did not find out the answer.
5 – Are All Teachers Fully CPR and First Aid Certified?
Once again, it is pretty much impossible to come across a swimming school in general where each and every instructor is not fully CPR and first aid certified. It is an absolute prerequisite for anyone working with kids in such areas to be more than proficient when it comes to essential lifesaving skills. So again, while it is extremely unlikely that the answer will be anything other than wholly predictable, it is still important to ask.
6 – How Do You Deal with Nervous or Slow-Learning Swimmers?
All kids learn at different speeds and excel in unique areas from one child to the next. As such, some kids take to swimming like ducks to water while others tend to develop their skills on a much more gradual basis. And then of course there will always be those kids who have some level of aversion to the water in general and therefore require more direct and focused attention from their respective teachers. So just in case your own child picks up his or her swimming skills a little more slowly than others, it’s a good idea to find out how such children are approached and nurtured.
7 – Tell Me About Your Approach to Swim Coaching
Last but not least, it is always worth asking the instructors exactly how it is they go about the process of teaching kids to swim. There are so many different approaches when it comes to swimming tuition, which vary from fantastic fun and games to a rather more intense boot camp style approach. In order to make sure you are happy with their own specific method of teaching, it’s a good idea to ask what method it is they use.
8 – Request a Taster Session
Once you have got the answers to the questions above, ask if you can have a taster session. Most good schools will allow you a free trial lesson. This is the best way to get to see how your chosen swim school operates and how the teacher interacts with your child and with you.