What are our Foundation classes and who are they suitable for?
Aquatots are very proud of our Foundation classes, not only because they are unique to Aquatots, but because we believe there is very little on offer for older children who may not have had any experience in the water. Our specialist classes are aimed at children between 18 months and approximately 5 years old. With 4 streamed classes available grouping children by age, they are an ideal way to introduce your child to water for the first time. Suitable if your child is nervous and not confident in the water yet or even a child that may have started swimming but has had a long break and needs assessing so we can recommend a suitable swim level.
What to expect from your class
Smaller than usual classes so that each child enjoys more teacher1-2-1, the class structure is gentle and the teacher adapts all skills to each child’s confidence level and ability while working as part of a larger class. Utilising a combination of specially adapted skills from the main programme, your teacher is constantly taking notice of your child’s reactions, offering parents advice on how to approach each skill in a way that ensures your child’s comfort and how to get the most out of the class and develop at your own pace. Parents come into the pool with each child to provide confidence and a ‘hands on’ approach that is integral to the Aquatots main programme and achieving success. No waiting around in pool for your teacher to help each child means a full and vibrant 30 minutes. Money well spent!
So why not 1-2-1?
Some parents ask, do we do 1-2-1 classes? Aquatots don’t offer these because it is not seen as beneficial to be alone in a class. The comradery of the other pupils is encouraging and generates an atmosphere and therefore takes a lot of pressure of the individual child. Children like to copy children, ideal if we have a slightly more confident child in the class setting an example.
How you can progress?
The first milestone for some children is to be accepting of going under water! This means a great deal to parents who want to enjoy leisure activities and holidays without time in the pool being stressful. Once your child has achieved that, your teacher will assess their ability and suggest an appropriate swim level for your child to move into. Then you will experience the whole of the exciting Aquatots programme and continue to develop their confidence, while gently working towards that 5 meter independent swim.
A Teachers’ perspective
Teacher Elise, who teaches at Tadworth on a Sunday, and regularly has a foundation class on offer, always looks forward to her Foundation swimmers getting into the pool:
“I teach most of the day on a Sunday and I love all my classes but I especially look forward to my foundation class at the end of the day. I find it the most rewarding. When a nervous child suddenly clicks with it, it feels like such an achievement. It takes a lot of patience, especially at the beginning, but it is time well spent. Helping parents and their children enjoy water is a must for me because this is magical time with family. My holidays are a joy because of how confident my children are and it makes me proud that they learnt to swim so early. I want all families to experience that.
Now a few words of praise from some teachers about swimmer’s achievements
Some of our teachers want to make a well-deserved fuss of their Foundation swimmers and have kindly shared some stories with us.
Teacher Sarah, is so proud of Elliot
“Elliot is a great example for any of us who are slightly more nervous, to find a way to overcome their fears. After both Elliott and his Dad had separate bad experiences in a swimming pool on holiday they were determined to learn those life-saving skills that are so important for children to have. Elliott was three years old when he started at Aquatots and although he was happy to play on the surface and could hold his breath when he needed to, he was clearly uncomfortable going under the water and so we took it very slowly, playing lots of games and encouraging Elliott to build up his confidence. By the end of his first term we figured out that it was actually the water irritating Elliott’s eyes that was bothering him; then came the task of encouraging him to wear goggles! This can be tricky but we spent another half a term showing Elliott how to do this safely and comfortably and then hey-presto! Suddenly Elliott’s underwater world was crystal clear! Now Elliott is happily swimming in Level 8 and spends more time underwater than on top with a snazzy pair of goggles, but most importantly he’s learning all those skills he needs to stay safe in the water. Well done Elliott!"
And teachers Kate and Susie at Otford are so pleased for swimmers Saxon, Lottie and Amelie:
“Saxon Forde has already had a special mention in our newsletter for his brilliant swimming and transition from foundation lessons into our main programme! He is such a confident boy who tries really hard and works so well with Dad every lesson! It's actually been extra challenging for Saxon recently, as he is so tall, it's such a temptation for him to put his feet on the bottom of the pool when doing his swims! To his credit though he tries really hard not to and recently blew us all away when he completed his 5m swim independently.
I frequently hear "Dad, don't hold me, I can do it on my own" coming from Saxon! Such an independent little man, who has used that confidence and hard work to achieve his 5m swim at only level 11. This is a fantastic achievement for any level 11 swimmer but to have come from the foundation programme and had limited experience with our swim skills is just incredible! Well done Saxon! Foundation teacher Susie, current teacher Kate and Dad are beaming with pride!
Other mentions must go to two young ladies in Kate's Sunday Level 9 class. Lottie Chamberlain and Amelie Pearce transitioned from a few terms in the foundation programme where they built their water confidence and familiarity with some of our skills. We then moved the girls together into Level 9 to see how they would cope. Well all that can be said is WOW! It has been an absolute pleasure to witness the growth in confidence in these girls and development in their skill levels! Moving straight into the toddler levels is challenging and both girls have done so well with this. The girls regularly surprise their mums by completing skills with such effort and confidence! Both star swimmers for sure! We look forward to seeing that confidence continue to grow and hopefully report on their 5m successes in the near future too!”
Foundation classes are available across all of our areas but fill quickly so get in touch asap to book your space!