What’s happening in my child’s lessons?
Once your child is taking lessons you may find you have more specific questions about what is happening while they’re in the water. On this page you’ll find FAQs about what happens in your child’s lessons.
Questions are based around:
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What is likely to happen in the lessons?
A: All children, whatever their age, should be having fun! Children should be involved in games-based activities that help them learn core skills essential for swimming such as breathing, submerging and moving in the water. The swimming strokes should be introduced gradually once the child has acquired the more basic skills. Most lessons last around 30 minutes and children should be as active as possible throughout the lesson.
When children are learning to swim, should the teacher be in the pool?
A: Where the group is small and the children are young then it may be appropriate for the teacher to be in the water with them. The ASA recommends a fully-qualified (ASA Level 2) Teacher leads the session from the poolside, with a support teacher(s) in the water. Where a programme feels it is important to have teachers in the pool we recommend a ratio of two swimmers per teacher maximum.
Will my four-year-old be safe in a group lesson?
A: The swimming teacher should assess your child at the start of the lesson to ensure that they are suitable for the group. They will take into account all health and safety implications, so there should be no issues for your child in a group lesson. If you have any concerns speak to the swimming lesson co-ordinator.
The swimming teacher dunks my son’s head under the water. Is this normal?
A: No! Teachers should refrain from physically forcing children into activities. This for safeguarding reasons but most importantly because the child will not learn if the skill is being forced. Children have to understand why they are doing it be able to consistently carry out the skill.
Will my son learn faster in a one-to-one class? Will it be less fun?
A: This depends on your child and the group in which they are placed. There is the possibility that your child will achieve more in one-to-one lessons because there are less distractions from others in the class and because they are the focus. However, children in group lessons benefit from personal development by learning new skills and socially interacting in a group. The ASA recommends group lessons.
My child still can't swim without a float despite months/years of lessons. Is this normal?
A: Your child should have the opportunity to remove floatation aids during each swimming lesson to avoid dependence on them but more importantly to be able to develop the core swimming skills. Perhaps speak to the swimming teacher about this and look to plan to move your child slowly out of using flotation aids in the coming months if appropriate.
Should I complain about my child’s swimming lessons at a council run leisure centre if I am not happy with my child’s progress?
A: Yes! They are providing a service for which you are paying for! Be constructive in your comments and try to pin point what you are unhappy with, not liking the teacher/another child in the group is not helpful if you want a suitable resolution. Once you have identified the issues ask to speak to the swimming co-ordinator and discuss possible solutions.
My child’s progress was okay at the start but in the past six months he appears to have made little progress. What can I do?
A: Swimming lessons that are built around the British Gas ASA Learn to Swim Framework are designed to be progressive. There are clear stages in the framework and each stage can be passed by reaching set outcomes. Some children become stuck on a particular skill and cannot fully complete the stage. When this happens, teachers will have an idea on how to move things on. Speak to your child's teacher to see if there is anything you can do in family swimming time that will help. Should you still have queries contact the swimming co-ordinator at your leisure centre.
My daughter loves swimming, she swims at the local swim club and also does a junior lifeguarding course at the local pool. What do you think would be a reasonable amount of hours for her to swim per week?
A: This is very much dependent on the age and ability of your daughter. Make sure the club is an ASA swim21 Accredited Club to ensure they are following good practice guidelines and then approach someone at the club with your question. You may also find it useful to read our guidance on Long Term Athlete Development.
My son isn’t allowed to start swimming lessons despite the fact he is old enough because he isn’t tall enough. Is this right?
A: Some organisations do try and use other methods of assessing a child’s suitability for swimming lessons. If you feel he is ready perhaps explain this to the swimming programme and if not try another facility.
I would love to take my two children swimming lessons but as they are both under four I have to be in the water with them during lesson. So what happens to one child while I am in the water with the other?
A: Due to safety implications you will need support for both your children in the water, therefore perhaps enlist a friend or grandparent to go along to support you in the lessons, or consider a creche for one child while the other is in the pool. The ASA also offers more advice on general child/pool admission policies.