Swimming classes for babies are hugely popular. Most people understand the benefits of teaching a child to swim in terms of water confidence, safety and setting them up for a healthy future. There is a big market for baby swimming classes, and many local pools are booked out with lessons running around the clock.
I have always loved teaching little ones to swim - it's a genuine passion for me, and I have enjoyed it even more since I had my own daughters. I knew I wanted to offer swimming lessons that were a bit different, and I was keen to find a way to improve on the rigidity of the baby swimming classes I attended when my little girl was first born.
During every lesson, I make sure I have a routine in place, with the same welcome song and the same song at home time. From my experience as a class teacher at a local school, I have learnt the value of familiarity. We do our activities in roughly the same order each week so that the babies know what to expect, and we build on each skill week by week, but I offer variations and alternatives if some babies are not quite ready, or if they're finding something too easy. I adapt the class to suit the child.
I feel that swimming with a baby has the potential to be a bonding experience for the parent and child, and I aim to keep lessons at a calm, steady pace. I give time with toys so that the little ones can try pouring or splashing the water, and I love to watch the babies discover new skills in the pool. Swimming has the potential to be overwhelming enough for babies without cramming endless activities into the lesson, and sometimes it feels as though you're working through a checklist of activities, rather than enjoying the water with your baby.
Most importantly, I focus on technique. I have taught children of all ages, and I know what to look for in terms of the skills that little ones need to work on in order to form the building blocks for a good stroke.
Baby swimming isn't all about submersion and working through a teacher's lesson plan of what they feel works for most children, however tried and tested the plan might be. It's not about gimmicks, photo shoots and added extras. It's about teaching a love of the water that will last a lifetime.