Amy swims with Swim Academy free of charge for the purpose of review
Amy started swimming with Puddle Ducks shortly before her second birthday, moving up to Swim Academy when she turned four – almost two years ago now. Watching her learning to swim with Swim Academy is an absolute joy – she adores her swimming teachers and I love watching her progress week on week. Amy’s Swim Academy lessons are a world away from her big sister’s council run lessons at the local sports centre.
I wanted to share with you just ten things we love about Swim Academy so you can see the difference too!
First and foremost, the staffing ratios in Swim Academy lessons at Level 1 & 2 are a maximum of four children to each teacher – which means lots of focused attention without lots of waiting around. At Levels 1 & 2, both teachers are in the pool with the swimmers – children start to swim in groups of two or three as their confidence and ability grows but the teachers are always nearby talking to them about what they need to do (rather than shouting at them from the poolside as seems to be the case in my older children’s council lessons!) At Level 3, swimmers are taught from the poolside – this, like all things at Swim Academy, is built up to so during Level 2 one teacher might get out of the pool from time to time and instruct from the poolside, just to make sure it’s not a big shock when children move up to Level 3 and find they don’t have an adult in the pool with them anymore.
I’m always amazed by how much is covered in a Swim Academy lesson – the pace of the lessons keeps things interesting for the children in the pool and means swimmers get enough time to have a good go at something without being bored of either waiting or doing the same thing over and over. The 30 minute lesson goes so quickly!
Swim Academy lessons are different every week – there’s an opening / closing song to give structure but the activities and focus change week on week so there’s no chance of getting fed up – swimmers are constantly being taught new skills, the next stage of a stroke they’ve been working on for a while or jumping back to revise something they’ve not done recently – this keeps the children engaged and the lessons interesting! (There’s also Pyjama Week once a term teaching vital personal safety skills)
4. Clear progression and a real journey
As a spectator I love that I can always see the point of what is being taught in a Swim Academy lesson – for example you can see that being taught to roll on to your back to breathe is going to eventually lead into a head turn to breathe – but without a sinking bottom which is what you get if you lift your head up out of the water instead. It’s never about being taught the whole stroke at once, everything is broken right down and strokes are developed one step at a time.
5. No arm bands
Puddle Ducks & Swim Academy don’t use arm bands. Full stop. They mainly use woggles (pool noodles) as flotation devices – these are so much more flexible then arm bands and are used in so many different ways through the lessons. Even on holiday, we don’t use armbands for Amy – if we are nearby she uses a woggle, if she’s going on a water slide or wants to be further away from us in the pool she uses a Konfidence float jacket.
6. The Swim Academy staff
Amy adores her Swim Academy teachers and always cuddles them at the end of every lesson – Claire has been teaching Amy since her second term with Puddle Ducks almost four years ago and has remained a constant throughout. All the teachers we’ve met through our Puddle Ducks and Swim Academy lessons are really lovely – they take the time to remember details about the children which helps to make them feel settled and confident in the water. (Amy wants me to make sure I tell you how much she loves Claire and how special she is!)
7. Praise & encouragement
My own memories of swimming lessons as a child are of being shouted at by a grumpy teacher – and this has been borne out through Ben and Chloe’s lessons too if I’m honest. But Amy’s Swim Academy lessons are so positive – it’s all carrot and no stick. Amy and the other swimmers and constantly encouraged and praised throughout their lesson with a focus always being on what they’re doing well and what they need to do next time to make it even better. Swimming is taught as a journey, so nothing is ever wrong, it’s just a step towards making their swimming even better.
8. Monthly payments
It used to be that Puddle Ducks and Swim Academy lessons were paid for upfront at the start of term – which is a big chunk of cash to find! The new monthly payment system spreads the cost and ensures continuity for swimmers and staff.
9. Catch-up lessons
Catch up lessons are a major selling point for Puddle Ducks and Swim Academy to my mind. For Ben and Chloe, we pay a monthly direct debit and that’s that – if they miss a lesson for any reason (be it illness or school holidays) that money is gone, we just have to suck it up. But with Puddle Ducks and Swim Academy, if you know you can’t make a lesson, you just log onto your account and let them know. They then allow you to book a catch-up lesson at another time – no money wasted and no lessons missed!
Now this might not be true of all Swim Academy venues I grant you – but ours has awesome cake! (The downside of this being that Amy would have me buy cake after every lesson if she thought she could get away with it!)
I’m sure you know by now, that we love the Swim Academy way of doing things but if you’ve got any questions, you can check out the Swim Academy FAQs page or just give me a shout and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Amy swims with Swim Academy free of charge of the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own