Research commissioned by the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) has shown that a worrying number of children stop attending swimming lessons before they’ve learnt essential water safety and lifesaving skills.
The researchers interviewed swimming teachers at 297 UK swim schools who, between them, teach over 93,000 children aged from 2–10 years every week. The majority of these teachers said that children are leaving their swimming lessons before they have mastered three essential skills: treading water for 2 minutes, swimming 50 metres unaided, and jumping in and swimming back to the side unaided. Only 16% of swim teachers said their students are proficient at these skills when they stop their lessons.
When asked why children are stopping their swimming lessons too early, three-quarters of swim teachers stated the reason was ‘parents believing their child can swim and is water confident’. The research highlighted the difference between what swimming teachers and parents believe is important for a child to learn. Overall, parents place more importance on a child learning the different swimming strokes and being able to swim significant distances, whereas swim teachers emphasise learning water safety, rescue techniques and survival skills.
Kaylë Burgham, Head of Aquatics at STA, said “because a child can swim a length they are deemed to be an able swimmer… it gives the child a false sense that they can swim, when in fact they have not learnt how to survive in water.”
On the upside, the research showed that swimming lessons for younger children are still popular; 50% of swim teachers have seen an increase in the number of learners aged 5-7 and 46% claim an increase in the 2–4 years age group.
At Swimkidz, we believe the most important reason for taking your baby swimming is that you will be teaching them a core life skill that could one day prove invaluable. Life saving techniques are taught from the very first lesson in a fun-filled way, and built upon each week. Older children get to swim in their PJs and are taught to remove them whilst treading water, which is truly amazing to see!
Swimkidz are proud to say we have taught thousands of little ones to swim and become safer around water. Reports from a number of our parents have revealed some amazing life-saving and survival stories, thanks to our teaching methods. Check out our testimonials or contact us today to find your nearest class.