There are literally hundreds of swim schools across the country that parents can choose from to introduce their child to the wonderful world of swimming – but how do you choose the one that’s right for you?
Location of course is a big factor but you might also want to consider the following …
5 tips for choosing the best swim school for your child
1. A good teacher makes a big difference
Most of us remember a teacher from primary school who stands out from the others. Someone who made learning fun and seemed to understand things from your height-restricted point of view.
You want a teacher that can do that for swimming – a teacher who loves what they do and makes learning fun.
Before you sign up, ask to meet the teacher who’ll be taking your child’s class. Remember you’re going to be involved in these classes also, so it’s important that the teacher is someone that both you and your child can relate to and trust.
2. Check their reviews
Unfortunately there are some keyboard warriors out there who like to express their opinion long and loud whenever they feel they’ve been slighted. Most of us are becoming adept at weeding out these Whingy Wendys when reading online reviews, however there might be occasions when they make a valid point. If the swim school you’re considering has a long list of negative reviews on Facebook, Google and other sites – there’s obviously something amiss. On the other hand if the reviews are mostly good with just the odd grumble, then they’re probably worth a shot.
3. The right accreditation
Look for a school whose instructors have current accreditation and qualifications with Austswim, the national industry standard for swimming and water safety teachers. Teachers with Austswim qualifications have been trained to a very high standard and will be abreast of the latest skills and techniques in swimming teaching.
It’s also a good idea to check that all teachers and staff at the school are blue card holders and have current resuscitation certificates. And if the school is accredited with Royal Life Saving Society Australia’s Swim and Survive Program, all the better. This program is aimed at increasing the swimming and water safety skills of all Australian children to reduce the incidence of drowning.
Most swim schools will have their level of accreditation on their websites, but if you’re unsure, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
4. Teacher-to-child ratio
Small class sizes ensure your child gets quality one-on-one time with the teacher and issues around breath control or fear of water can be promptly addressed before they become a problem. Look for a school that offers class sizes of between four and six. This is a good size that allows for social interaction without being too big and impersonal.
5. Check the change rooms
If you’ve ever tried to change your tired child’s wet, pooey nappy in a public toilet block at the beach you’ll appreciate just how wonderful a simple thing like a baby change table can be. While it’s not a deal-breaker when choosing a swim school, child and baby-friendly change room facilities will make swimming lessons a lot less stressful for you, the parent, and a lot more enjoyable for everyone else.
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