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Proud to be a Puddle Duck!

From Franchise Owners, Teachers, Poolside Assistants, Office Teams, Pool Operators and of course swimmers, we all have one thing in common…..we are PROUD to be a Puddle Duck. And we want to tell you exactly why!

Proud of our complete swimming journey

Puddle Ducks teaches children, from birth to 10 years, to swim independently, beautifully and confidently, and to love and respect the water. We teach essential life skills and water safety to over 19,000 babies, toddlers, pre-school and primary school children across the UK, every week, offering the complete swimming journey from birth to age 10.

Classes are packed full of fun - watch as your little one develops into a confident swimmer without even realising they are learning to swim! We recognise that every child is different; our expert teachers individually tailor activities to suit your child’s ability and confidence levels. We often see children achieving their 10m award before they start school.

Proud of our leading industry teaching standards

We are totally committed to delivering classes of the highest standards and the best possible value to our customers. All of our programmes have been written and developed by swimming experts and our technical team continually develop them based on the latest research, demonstrating our leading industry standards.

Puddle Ducks teachers undergo rigorous training programmes to ensure that they meet the toughest swimming teacher standards. But it’s not just about knowledge - dedication and fun are an important part of the mix. Teachers spend 300 hours completing their training, 50 hours in the classroom and the rest in the water.  Our programmes and teacher training are continuously developed in the latest techniques, ensuring our teaching standards remain the highest, meaning you really are being taught by the best! Our Head of Teaching, Abby Britland told us more about the journey to becoming a Puddle Ducks teacher.

“Training to become a Puddle Ducks teacher first starts with the passion and desire to work with children of all ages, and what a pleasure it is having the opportunity to nurture and progress swimmers right through their swimming journey.  The training journey is robust and takes commitment from the teacher.  Initially candidates will attend a lifesaving course followed by the STA Level 2 baby and pre-school award in aquatic teaching, followed by an in-house course with Puddle Ducks to build understanding of the 5 programmes that we teach. Teachers then complete a series of in-pool co-teaching sessions alongside experienced teachers to actively put into practice all of their learning. Finally, the teacher training journey is finalised with an accreditation visit from Puddle Ducks HQ, who observe the teacher teaching independently in each programme before they are signed off as a fully fledged baby and pre-school swimming teacher.  The teacher is then ready to go off to deliver their own classes and build some long-lasting relationships with their swimmers and parents.  The rewards from this make all of the training worthwhile. It is such a lovely and rewarding job!”

Proud of our child-led approach

Our approach to swimming is fully child led.  Your child is truly at the centre of what we do.  Our teachers are especially trained to identify your little one’s own stage of development and confidence. They will then tailor the activities to suit your child, ensuring that they are happy, developing at their own pace and gaining confidence.  We also believe in giving your child choice. If your little one isn’t ready to do an activity, we listen to them and adapt the activity to something they are comfortable with.  We want to build their confidence, not break it by getting them to do something they’re not ready for.

Ali Beckman is the Technical Director and Head of Teaching at Puddle Ducks.  Along with her role at Puddle Ducks, Ali is also President of the STA; The Swimming Teachers’ Association which is an international award-winning charity working towards the objective of preserving human life by the teaching of swimming, lifesaving and survival techniques. Ali talks more about the child-led approach to lessons, and what makes Puddle Ducks different to other swim schools.

“I’ve often been asked to define our unique approach to baby swimming and it’s actually easy; child-led. It’s what we’ve always done. Our babies and children have always been at the centre of everything we do but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it better.

All our teaching is consistent with research developments in infant physiology and infant psychology and with technical advances in swimming. This not only keeps us ahead of the game, it means we have to be prepared to change when new developments are brought into the mix.”

Proud of our small class sizes

Our lessons are taught in specially selected pools with limited class sizes. These small class sizes mean swimmers can really get to know their teacher, and what a sense of pride your teacher feels watching a Floatie progress through the programme to take those first independent swims and all of the other wonderful milestones along the way.

Jo Chandler has been teaching our baby and preschool lessons in Greater Manchester for over 6 years, and says "Being a baby and pre-school swimming teacher is such a rewarding job! It's amazing to see my little swimmers build their confidence in the water and go from splashing their grown ups, to turning those splashing hands into paddling arms and swimming independently. It's so special and I feel privileged and proud to be part of their journey and see them move through the programmes from Floaties, all the way up to a Dippers class. There's nothing better to brighten your day than a class of children all smiling back at you!"

Proud of our pools

Our lessons are taught in specially selected pools, and pool relationships are absolutely key to our business and we work hard to ensure partnerships are long-term and happy.  We have dedicated pool operating expertise that allows us to fully understand and manage our relationships with pool operators, ensuring the highest standards for customers.  Our Health and Safety record is impeccable. We pride ourselves on our approach to Health and Safety through our business operations and processes, training and inspection. 

Jayne Reader manages the Aqua Nurture pool and is qualified in pool plant operations.  Jayne tells us more about the standards in place at our pools.  “A pool plant Manager oversees the pool and ensures a safe environment throughout the day. I’m fully qualified in the theory behind pool plant maintenance and best practice, and all policies relating to pool health and safety.  It’s also essential that all staff working at the pool are trained and qualified in water testing. We regularly monitor the pool with water tests throughout the day to ensure the chemical levels and pool temperatures are safe and hygienic for lessons to go ahead.”

Proud of our team values

Our team members are bound together with a complete love of their job and shared experiences.  Working for Puddle Ducks is a fabulous job that fits around family life.  Puddle Ducks was founded in 2002 by Tracy Townend and Jo Stone after they met at ante-natal classes. As their friendship grew they realised they shared more in common than the birth of their first children - they shared an ambition to succeed in business; the need to strike a work-life balance; and a desire to pass on the joy of swimming to babies and children. 

This resonates with several of our team members, with teacher Jo saying “I started lessons with my little boy when he was 10 weeks old and I thought it looked like such a lovely job.  When I saw the role advertised while I was on maternity leave I just knew I had to apply.  I’m now in my 6th year of teaching and I can honestly say I have the best job.  I love coming to work to see my swimmers and it makes me so proud to see their achievements, no matter how big or small, and creating a bond through our love of swimming is such a lovely feeling.” 

Proud to be part of the Puddle Ducks family

We love hearing from swimmers and their parents about what makes their lessons so special.  One of our parents, David tells us about his journey through the Puddle Ducks programme.

“Alexa started at Puddle Ducks aged 1.  She's now 8, and is rocking Swim Academy level 3!  Her little sister Athena is a dipper, and is progressing faster than Alexa did as they are sharing their swimming journey.  I’m not sure what we will do when Athena completes Swim Academy as well...the Puddle Ducks experience has been a critical part of their childhood, and something they both enjoy.” 

Leanne has two sons swimming with us and says “We love swimming with Puddle Ducks and have been a part of the family for over 4 years. The teachers and staff get to know the children personally and go above and beyond to make sure lessons are both enjoyable and educational. My children's water confidence is just phenomenal and they look forward to their swimming lessons every week.”

Read more from our Puddle Ducks families here. 

What our customers think