At the end of our ten weeks of swimming lessons, we are pleased to report that every child has had a splashing good time.
Some of our children had never been in a swimming pool before, some were nervous of the water; others visit the pool regularly and were confident in the water. The excellent swimming teachers at the Furzefield made us all welcome and every child has been given individual attention, encouragement and support to become comfortable in the water. Most children have begun to learn a variety of swimming strokes, and all children are now able to move themselves around the water safely and purposefully.
Our visits begin with the routine of boarding the coach with a cheerful greeting to the driver and a bit of excited chatter on the short journey. I am pleased to report that our children have represented the school brilliantly with their behaviour as we line up and take our places to remove our shoes and socks before heading into the changing rooms. Being responsible for their own belongings and maintaining organisation of stray socks, soggy towels and inside out shirts has been a steep learning curve for some, but we are all now experts and are very quickly ready and waiting poolside (hardly a single item has been lost over then course of the lessons!).
Each child has been assessed and placed into a group where they can get the best support. Each lesson begins with a reminder from the previous week and a chance for the children to demonstrate their progress so far. Then there is the opportunity to build up the skills to learn or improve ther swimming strokes - some learning that they will not sink, some learning how they can breathe more effectively, some learning too slow down those swinging arms and some refining the balance of their strokes. Later on, the children have ample time to practice each new piece of learning and experience the difference it makes to their ability to move through the water.
Open mouths, dunked heads, gulps of water, running out of steam before the end of the pool, slow legs fast arms, fast legs no arms, floats or no floats - the swimming lesson has a lot for a Year 3 child to think about and co-ordinate all at the same time. At the side of the pool Mrs Wilkinson and Mr Ward have been so proud to see the resillience all of the children have shown, and the smiles on their faces when they emerge through the water knowing that they did something better that time than last time is a weekly highlight. A group of children have been in the main pool for all their lessons, and a group of children have been n the teaching pool for the duration - developing their confidence - and there is a group of childrn that have now progressed from the teaching pool into the main pool. A big achievement.
Swimming is a vital life skill and we are determined to ensure that all children feel safe, confident and happy in the water. We hope that they are able to show off their skills on future visits to the pool with their families. Our final lesson was a fun activity session with floats and balls. Every child had a great time and seeing them interact and play safely and confidently in the water was a testament to the progress they have made.
After each lesson, there is time for an often excitably loud discussion of what went well and what they will do next time. Getting back into school uniform often takes a little more effort but we are soon back on the coach and arrive back at school for playtime. We are at the end of our block of lessons but we will be returning in June for more. Why not take let your child take you to the pool in the meantime so they can maintain their skills?