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Swim Academy FAQ's

Parents often have lots of questions about our Swim Academy. We’ve tried to answer some of the most common questions parents ask below, but if you still need help or advice, please contact us at newcastle@puddleducks.com 

  • Swim Academy has been delivered by the baby and child swimming experts at Puddle Ducks since 2007. We have grown up a bit - just like our swimmers! The new and improved programme retains all the reasons 19,000 children and parents love and trust Puddle Ducks to teach their child to swim every week but we just have a new look!

  • Swim Academy caters for swimmers (and non-swimmers) of all abilities. Those without any swimming experience will enter the programme at Level 1. Levels 1 and 2 are our foundation levels where we focus on water confidence and introducing basic technical elements. Children will leave Level 1 being able to swim 5m unaided and with the basic skills needed to start more technical stroke work. We have a 4:1 teacher/child ratio in Levels 1 and 2 often have up to 8 children in the water with 2 teachers. This means the children are constantly doing activities and aren't waiting around for a teacher to supervise.

    If your child is a direct entrant into Swim Academy i.e. hasn't come through the Puddle Ducks Baby & Pre-school programme, we will most likely assess your child in Level 1 or 2, where we have teachers in the water, to make sure we place them in the correct level going forward.

  • Absolutely! We provide a nurturing environment with highly qualified and trained teachers who are experts at dealing with children who have little or no water experience. On the flipside, we can also turn the 'gung-ho cannonballer' into a disciplined and beautiful swimmer. Ask us about either coming to observe a lesson or having a free assessment so you and your child can be reassured that you are in the best hands.

    Our lessons are truly inclusive and our teachers are trained, over and above anyone else in the industry, in deaf awareness and attachment awareness. Find out more here.

  • Learning to swim is a journey, not something that happens in a few weeks. We expect our children to stay in each level for up to one year - some will move faster but Swim Academy classes focus on developing a graceful and efficient style of swimming.

  • Our lessons are full of fun as well as hard work! Our children love coming to their lessons; they make new friends, our teachers are loved by our swimmers and they learn how to swim beautifully, meaning they have more fun in the pool and on family holidays!

    As well as 'Recap and Reward' at the end of each lesson, where children are recognised for effort, good listening and mastering new skills, certificates and badges are awarded for each level as well as distance swims.

  • Swim hats are compulsory in Swim Academy lessons, our teachers always have spares that you may borrow if you forget yours.
    Goggles are recommended but are not compulsory. 
    These are both available from our online shop.

    We recommend your child wears well-fitting swimwear and not, for instance, baggy shorts which can cause drag in the water.

    We also recommend that you take a towel poolside to wrap your child in when the lesson is finished.

    Arm bands and other buoyancy aids are not permitted.

  • Your child, no matter how young or how new to swimming they are, will never wear armbands in a Swim Academy lesson. We want to teach your child to swim independently and how to be safe in the water. There are compelling reasons why we don’t use armbands:

    If your child fell into water when on holiday or even just on a riverside walk with the family, they probably won’t have armbands on. Their experience in their swimming lessons needs to be as realistic as possible. Water safety is a core building block in our lesson plans and everything your child learns will, unbeknown to them, be teaching them vital life-saving skills.

    We teach our children to swim beautifully. Technique is ingrained at every level and wearing armbands hinders this. Your child will learn to swim on the surface of the water, gracefully and efficiently. If they wear armbands, they will not be aligned in the water. Their top half will be bobbing above the water, forcing their bottom half to dip down, making the alignment required for independent swimming all but impossible.

    Non-fitted buoyancy aids (such as floats or woggles) allow children to push away from them when they are ready to be independent whereas fitted aids (arm bands) require an adult to deflate them.

  • Our teachers have helped many children overcome a fear of water. They fous on staying relaxed and having fun – if you start to force an activity on a child when they are nervous, they will respond with resistance, develop further nerves and the lesson will not be enjoyable. If they are struggling with nerves, we allow them to watch others and to just be in the pool. 

    We find that children who also swim with their family outside of structured lessons progress from being nervous much quicker than others so go and have fun and allow your child to lead. Never force.

  • Please don’t worry, we have dealt with thousands of children over the past 9 years and we can deal with yours!

    In Swim Academy, you will see that our teachers are very good at controlling a class of children. If a child repeatedly causes disruption in a class, they are asked to take time out and sit on the side of the pool.

    The teacher will then come and speak to them to see if they are ready to re-join the group. Think of our disciplinary measures being just like your child’s teacher would carry out at school. We have never had an instance of having to exclude a child from classes – an important part of our teachers’ training is to learn to deal with all kinds of personalities.