Learn to Swim Companion

A guide for parents and learners

Olive and Ducky save the day

Our latest parent blog details how three-year old Mabel is progressing in her swimming lessons and how changing class can have an impact on a child’s behaviour.

Mabel’s proud achievements

Mabel is on her ninth swimming lesson now and is doing really well. She has just completed Duckling 4 Award and in late November started in a new swimming class working towards the Swim England Learn to Swim Stage 1 Award.

Mabel was very pleased and proud of her Duckling Awards, showing them off to family and friends.

Her confidence in the water has really come along and she is happy to get her face wet, kick her legs, splash and join in with the water games as part of the awards. All credits go to her super teacher Christy!

She was then invited to join the next class working towards Stage 1. However, as the day approached, things took a turn.

The prospect of a new class

We woke up on Saturday with Mabel’s older sister Olive springing around the house ready for her swimming lesson. But Mabel seemed more distant and not so excited by the prospect of the new class.

A mixture of emotions were taking over and her nerves were getting the better of her. We had explained to Mabel that she would be moving to the new class and she would be learning new things in the water with a new teacher. But now the day had come, she wasn’t so thrilled with the idea.

Before prior lessons, Mabel had been raring to go each weekend, dressed before we asked, hyped up over her lessons and happily selecting her costume from the bag. Not this week. This week she was dispirited, which was surprising.

The thought of change had affected the way she thought about her swimming lessons and sadly it wasn’t for the better.

Olive steps in

Luckily big sister Olive is very caring, and affectionately guided her way of thinking to promote her new class. She grabbed Mabel’s Ducky from the Starter Pack and popped it in her swimming bag, telling her ‘Ducky will watch from poolside as you swim like a big girl’.

She eventually managed to convince Mabel to get dressed and off we dashed to the lesson.

As we got to poolside Mabel’s face turned to me looking worried once more but the new teacher Megan was really lovely and soon Mabel’s worried look turned to smiles and laughter.

The first lesson working towards Stage 1

Megan took Mabel’s hand and sat her on the edge of the pool. Mabel was handed a noodle which she hasn’t used before. She was wearing arm bands but the other children didn’t have them on. As the weeks go on I am sure Mabel will be encouraged to remove hers too when she is ready.

The Stage 1 class was more structured, the children took it in turns to do short distances of the pool, practising kicking legs and putting their faces in the water to blow bubbles. They used noodles and floats to perform different tasks in the water.

At the end of the lesson, the exciting part of jumping in took place which seems to be a firm favourite for many children!

A happy ending

Mabel got out cheerful at the end of the class. She also seemed to have made a new friend. I am confident we won’t have the same issues for the next lesson and her excitement will have returned.

She left holding Olive’s hand one side, and Ducky’s the other.

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