Swim Schools

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Learning aquatics will introduce you to the aquatic environment in a controlled and safe way where instructors can work with you or your child to develop important swimming and water safety skills.

Generally, the recommended age that children can start learning to swim 3 to 4 years, although developing water competence can start earlier than that. From 6 months you can introduce your child to water confidence and familarisation lessons, however some swim schools start earlier than this.

WaterSafe Auckland  has produced a brochure ‘Early Childhood Aquatics’. You can order a copy, or copies, from the Resources page.

In conjunction with the University of Auckland and swim schools, WaterSafe Auckland completed research with parents of toddlers. Results showed that parents of young children enrolled in swim lessons are more likely than parents of young children not enrolled in swim lessons to believe that swimming lessons are the best way to prevent their toddler drowning, and that it was better to develop swimming ability than to rely on adult supervision (Moran & Stanley 2006). Subsequent research research has shown that as their child developed swim skills, parental need to active supervision decreased due to the perception their child was capable of keeping themselves safe from drowning (Morrongiello, 2013).

Following this research, an interactive educational component was designed in consultation with swim schools in the Auckland and Northland region. This project, with an over-riding message of supervision, has now expanded to involve most swim schools in Auckland. Swim school messaging for families, and resources were developed (see Fact Sheets) promote active supervision.

What does supervision mean?

  1. Constancy – constant visual contact by a competent adult
  2. Proximity – stay within arm’s reach of non-swimmers and under-fives; and at the water’s edge for older children
  3. Without distraction – e.g. phone, texting, talking, cooking etc.
  4. Responsiveness – being ready to respond in an emergency, ability to perform child CPR.

Information on research examining parental perceptions on the role of toddler swimming ability and pre-school swimming lessons in drowning prevention can be found in the Research section.