How to choose a swim school
We know that choosing a swim school is a big decision for parents. Learning to swim should be a successful, happy and positive experience for children and parents alike. So what should you look for in a swim school? Well, every family is unique, and has different priorities. We passionately believe that all kids deserve the opportunity to learn to swim, so that’s why we’ve put together a handy guide to help you explore your options and make an informed choice.
First and foremost, you want to know that the swim school offers a safe environment. Those that give safety the priority it deserves will have measures in place to keep children, families and staff safe. This shouldn’t just cover the physical environment; it should extend to include the protection of children and young people.
Children need an environment that is conducive to learning. When looking at a swim school, see if there are any possible distractions that may make learning to swim difficult. For example, some facilities have waterslides, wave pools and play areas for the general public, which can be very distracting.
Take the time to find out more about the pool itself. Swim schools that can offer purpose built facilities and different learning zones will naturally have an advantage over schools that have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Also, ask about the water temperature – those with warmer temperatures will offer a more comfortable learning environment for babies and children.
The facilities on offer should be comfortable for all of the family. Swim schools with family friendly change rooms, clean amenities, easy access for prams and comfortable air temperatures will add to a far more enjoyable experience.
Look for things that can give insight to a swim school’s credibility. The credentials of a swim school will tell you a lot about the quality of learn to swim program on offer. Nationally recognised accreditations are a great sign of a quality water safety education program that is in line with industry standards. Reviews and feedback forums can also give you great insight as to how the swim school is regarded in the community. And don’t forget the other incredibly valuable source of information available to you – other parents! Ask around!
You want room for your child to grow in a learn to swim program, as they get stronger in confidence and technique. Take a look at the levels on offer at the swim school, because some do not cater to all ages and skill levels. Also, explore the options that are (or aren’t) available for your child to progress to the next level. Ask if your child will be reviewed at fixed intervals such as school holidays, or if they are able to progress at any time.
Ask the swim school about their class sizes. Classes with smaller swimmer to teacher ratios will allow each child to receive more focus and attention. Although each child is unique, good swim schools will also ensure that classes are grouped in a way that children are at a similar level of development. This way, all kids are not pushed ahead if not ready, or held back from progressing.
Learning to swim should be an amazing experience for the whole family! You should always feel like you are stepping into a friendly and welcoming environment.
Good teachers bring out the best in kids. Look for qualified teachers who are dedicated to the best outcomes for the children they teach. A good swim school will not only teach an industry relevant program, they will also teach consistently, no matter who is leading a class.
The people who work at a swim school can make an enormous difference to your experience. Look for swim schools that show a warm and welcoming smile, great customer service, encouragement to the kids, and assistance to mum when she needs it. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference the little things can make to your overall experience.
Take a look at the availability of classes on offer at a swim school. A wider availability of classes will be more likely to fit in with your busy family routine. See if you can join at any time, or if they have scheduled intakes, such as in line with school term dates. Swim schools that accept kids at any time will give you the advantage of being able to start as soon as you are ready. Also, check out how often a swim school closes throughout the year. There are many benefits in a continuous learn to swim journey, so those with less close down dates are more likely to give your child a continuous learn to swim experience.
Everyone wants value for money. Find out what you need to invest to start and continue your lessons. There should be no hidden costs. Ask if you need to commit to contracts, or if you can pay as you go. Learning to swim is a family affair – so ask the swim school if they offer any family discounts and/or rewards programs.