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kids and swimming lessons

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A bunch of past topics made me wonder how the country/region/city or even parents of the posters here had treated swimming lessons for school aged kids.
We often hear posters say that no kid in Australia can grow up without having swimming lessons, but is it school mandatory or just the parents?
What about those that don't learn in the rest of the world, lack of infrastructure?
I had never heard of schools (middle/high or college) having their own pool until coming across an American TV show for example.

For me in France I've had compulsory swimming classes from my first grade to the end of middle school. That's 9 years. I think I even had some in kindergarden (from the school). At least the first few years we would get a diploma stating that we had a grade 1/2/... proficiency in swimming. It was a valid and asked as a proof when you enrolled in things like summer camp.

And since they could mix people in different classes (but same grade) in high school we had more choice and could take or not the programme with swimming in it (we had to choose between say program A (soccer, track, tennis) B (climbing, orientation, swimming) and so on.

So from my experience you couldn't really go through school without having to learn, but that might not be the case when there's no infrastructure around or with budget cuts. We took the school bus to go to the swimming pool, I think it's the only cost to the school when they can't walk to it.

I've also had at least two unit on rescuing someone (well, a least a plastic dummy) when I was 9 and again at 12. We had to dive with our clothes on, get the dummy at the bottom and get it back to the side of the pool. At 12 it was also done with a classmate.

As for my family we went often to the pool as kids during summer, we didn't have one but knew friends who had.
I don't think I've even seen my dad in a pool those past 20 years, but I'm pretty sure he knows how to swim, but he says the water is too wet for his liking :).
And my mom would benefit from swimming lessons again, she unlearned a lot, but has a drowning experience to get over to feel safe putting her head under water.
She propably was my first 'teacher' and introduced me to the pool/swimming so I would probably have learned regardless of school.

In  my experience, in Aus and NZ, swimming lessons are a standard part of primary school (ages 6-12).   You can opt out, but it's fun and part of lesson time so most are happy to do it.   I guess it would be hard to grow up not learning.

My son is 5 months old, he will be starting lessons next month.   Some of his friends have started already but we have an overseas holiday this month so I wanted to wait for our return to start.  Of course, he's already been swimming a few times but its good to start learning technique while he's young eg kicking, blowing bubbles etc.    So yes he will learn at school, but most kids here also learn before school.... It's just part of life.

Harriet Jones:
I don't think it's particularly common for US middle/high schools to have pools.  Any swimming lessons I took were through the YMCA or similar, it's the same for my kids.

I did have to take a swim class in college, though, as part of the physical education requirements for graduation.

I took a few swimming lessons as a child (Canadian) but it is not compulsory. None of the schools I went to (or visited) had a pool. Nor did it matter much for summer camp that I know of. We had swim time at camp, but we could just sit on the edge of the water if we wanted.

I'm in the UK and we had swimming lessons during primary school (6 - 11), for one term a year. The classes took it in turns, so for example classes A and C would have swimming one PE lesson a week during the autumn term, and classes B and D would go during the summer term. I can't remember if there was an additional cost, but we did get bussed to and from the local swimming pool. I think that was just something my school happened to offer though, I don't think it was done everywhere. It may have been an initiative from the local council but I can't remember (I'd have to ask my mum).

My brother and I also had weekly swimming lessons on a Saturday morning, until I was about 10, but they were optional and paid for by my granddad.

Both my parents can swim as they were taught at school, but by the time I was around many schools had got rid of their pools as I guess they were expensive to run. My second secondary school (I moved) had its own small pool, but swimming for PE was optional and based on the assumption you could already swim.

I'd say it's pretty uncommon for kids in the UK not to be able to swim at least a little, but as we don't really have the climate for outdoor pools, it's really not often people have their own and as swimming can be expensive to go regularly (especially if it's not offered at school) it's not unheard of.


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