• May 22, 2018, 03:05:58 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: kids and swimming lessons  (Read 35108 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Member
  • Posts: 1744
kids and swimming lessons
« on: July 08, 2013, 05:05:45 AM »
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.


  • Member
  • Posts: 4493
    • This Is It
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 05:12:16 AM »
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.
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"

Harriet Jones

  • Member
  • Posts: 8891
  • Yes, we know who you are.
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 06:44:02 AM »
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.


  • It is never too late to be what you might have been
  • Member
  • Posts: 6172
  • Two kitties - No waiting. And no sleeping either.
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 07:03:33 AM »
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.
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.


  • Member
  • Posts: 225
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 07:07:13 AM »
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.
'A troth, by the way, is a small furry creature with fins, the offspring of a trout and a sloth. I often wonder what they saw in each other, but then I suppose the sloth, being upside down, would tend to have a different slant on things.'


  • Member
  • Posts: 4325
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2013, 07:53:22 AM »
My town didn't have a pool, so definitely no lessons in school.
It *used* to be that to get a bachelor's degree at a lot of state universities you either had to take a swim test (and pass) or enroll in a basic swim class (which would fulfill your PE requirement)--it wasn't uncommon for people who could swim to not take the test, default into swim class and take the "easy A" :P

Swimming in the US has some racial and cultural baggage that are lasting effects of segregated pools.


  • Member
  • Posts: 2086
  • Rudeness is a small person's imitation of power.
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 08:02:21 AM »
I got "swimming lessons" via my primary school, at the local leisure centre pool (it's very rare for schools to have their own).

They consisted of the teacher telling us to get in the pool and saying, "go on, swim".

I never learned.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 01:43:08 AM by RingTailedLemur »


  • Member
  • Posts: 1776
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2013, 08:11:27 AM »
I got swimming lessons as a kid in school. It was part of the standard curiculum. I have no idea if every school did or does this, but even if schools don't do it, most parents will send their kids to swimming lessons, because the Netherlands has so much water that you want your kids to be able to help themselves if some accident happens to them someday.
Wherever you go..... There you are.


  • Member
  • Posts: 999
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 08:14:10 AM »
I'm in the US. No pools at any of the schools I went to growing up, no lessons. My son is now in middle school, same thing - no swimming pool at any of the schools, no lessons. My parents paid for lessons, we paid for my son to take lessons. I would imagine that only wealthy communities have swimming pools/lessons associated with schools.


  • Member
  • Posts: 10801
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 09:37:18 AM »
I learned at the YMCA (through paid lessons), but my middle and high schools did have pools.  The high school pool was very old (building was from 1929) but reasonably well cared for, and was just about what you'd expect from an indoor pool at a high school.  The junior high pool, though . . . it was stuck in underneath the bleachers behind the gym.  It was a tiny room (4-lane pool), it stank to high heaven because it wasn't ventilated very well, and the ceiling slanted because of the bleachers overhead so if you climbed out too fast on one side you were in danger of banging your head and falling back in the water.  We only had 49-minute class periods, so for swimming that meant 10 minutes to change at the beginning of class and 25 minutes (for girls, 15 for boys) at the end, so that left less than 15 minutes each class for actually swimming.  It was a required unit in gym class in 9th grade.  At the end of the unit was the waive test (which I thought was "wave test" for the longest time) - if you could do two laps of front crawl and tread water for five minutes, you didn't have to take swimming in high school.  About half of us passed.


  • Member
  • Posts: 1776
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 10:28:08 AM »
btw, we didn't have a pool at school, we just went to the public pool during schooltime for lessons.
Wherever you go..... There you are.


  • Member
  • Posts: 22437
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2013, 10:34:52 AM »
In Michigan most schools don't have pools and the majority of kids do not learn through school. I learned at the YMCA and had those skills reinforced at summer camp and other experiences.

The reality is that there is a gap in who has the chance to learn to swim in the US.


  • Member
  • Posts: 10051
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2013, 10:37:54 AM »
None of the schools I went to, until college, had a pool. The town did have a public pool, though, and held swimming lessons in the summer. These were extremely cheap and taught by high school students. It was a common way for parents to get their kids out of their hair during summers  ;D as well as teaching a useful skill.


  • Member
  • Posts: 9208
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2013, 10:58:34 AM »
I had no idea that in other countries swim lessons were compulsory. That is really interesting.

I've never known a US Public primary school (ages 5 to 11/12) to have swimming pool. I'm aware of one Middle school in our major city school district (ages 12-14) that has a pool, but that is because the school used to be a high school. It is the only one I know if that offered swimming as an athletic option for that age.

For public Highschools (age 14-18), our school district has about a 1/3 with pools at the school. If you attend a HS that doesn't have a pool and want to take swimming or join the competitive swim team, you go to one of the other schools with your class/team for practice during the school period. I've always thought it funny that TV shows or movies made it seem like every HS in the US had a swimming pool or swim team. But since most of them were made in California where there is a larger number of public schools with pools, I guess it is expected.

Most US kids that learn to swim either take private swim lessons or there are public pools in our city that offers public swim classes. Or they are taught by a family/friend. 

My DD started taking private lessons at 3 and my son at 2. They were both on a neighborhood swim team by the time they were 5.

For summer camps, they would have to do a swimming proficiency test each year. For boy scouts my son has to do an annual swimming proficiency test. But they both also have their Red Cross Lifeguard training (as does our entire family since we have a pool). Even with the Lifegaurd certification, my DS still has to take the swimming proficiency test for the Boy Scouts.


  • Member
  • Posts: 4769
  • California, U.S.A
Re: kids and swimming lessons
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2013, 11:56:07 AM »
My kids started taking swimming lessons at about age 18 months, which seems to be pretty typical. In my experience (in California), most communities have pools, as do most high schools.  Sometimes the community pool doubles as the high school pool, or the high school pool doubles as the community pool, but there's always a pool.  In my area, swimming is part of the physical education curriculum in high school, so all kids end up swimming eventually.  It's rare that an elementary or middle school has it's own pool, but not unheard of.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

-The Car Talk Guys