“ Swimming Lessons in locations across the UK. „
For a long, long time, Harry was really afraid of the water, and I could barely get him in the bath, let alone in a swimming pool. When we went to Menorca in June of this year, we had a villa with our own pool, so my parents were determined to get Harry swimming, although none more so than my dad! I had to buy him all new swimming stuff, new armbands, and my brother's girlfriend got him a rubber ring too, and we conquered it... by day 7 he was being thrown in my brother and paddling his way across the deep end with his armbands too, we were thrilled! So when we returned, I decided I had to enroll in him in swimming lessons while he had the swimming bug, and it's been the best thing I've done all year because he's coming on leaps and bounds, and so looks forward to his weekly swimming lessons!
Aquazone is Parkwood Leisure's swimming lesson sessions, and you can find a list of participating centres on their website, which is at the end of my review. I can't say whether they have a set price, but the 3 leisure centres nearest me, including the one where Harry attends all charge the same price. We pay £60 for ten weeks worth of lessons, and they last for 30 minutes each which is plenty as swimming is a tiring activity, especially if you choose after school lessons, they've been at school all day, and 30 minutes of physical activity is more than enough. My centre offers a range of days and times for lessons, although you have to be aware of spaces filling fast, and getting your name on the list is essential as the lessons seem popular everywhere, as swimming is such an important skill for children to gain. Do be aware that if you miss a lesson, you aren't refunded the money but if you have to cancel for an ongoing illness, you just need a doctor's note and a letter to claim a refund. Children are provided with a swimming hat by the leisure centre as part of your fee, and the colour depends on which stage they are at. You begin with red (stage 1), and move on to orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple and grey for the highest 2 levels. Hats have to be worn by all children so the instructors can see the children in their group easily.
You begin the lessons in Stage 1, which is really going back to basics. It teachs the children water confidence, from entering and exiting the water safely, to basic swimming with flotation aids, although armbands are not allowed to be worn, instead floats and swimming noodles are provided to the children. Harry's lessons take place in a learner pool with a depth of 0.75m, but check with your local centre about where the lessons take place. The children are continually assessed by the teacher throughout the term, being asked to swim across on their own or do a particular task one at a time, and week 8 of the term is an assessment week, where the instructor carefully monitors each child and ensures they pass each of the ASA criteria for that stage. If the child doesn't pass each of them, their progression to the next stage will be declined and they'll have to repeat it.
Harry really enjoyed swimming lessons from the word go, and enjoys all of the activites asked of him. I'm lucky in that he's now very water confident, but there are some children who were quite afraid and nervous, and the instructor did a great job of getting them in and going when they really didn't want to. I'm very proud to say that Harry passed his stage 1 assessment after just 1 term (and missing 2 lessons due to a trip to my parents in the summer holidays), and I've been told it's likely he'll fly quite easily through stage 2 as well. To go from a child who was petrified of having his hair washed to one who can easily swim on his front and back across the pool with just a float is just so fantastic, and I in no doubt credit this to his swimming lessons giving him these essential skills. When they pass a stage, you are given a new lesson day/time, and at my centre, you have to purchase a certificate and soft badge to sew onto their towel for £3 which I think is fine, and Harry is so proud to have his certificate.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Aquazone swimming lessons to any of my friends, and anyone who has a Parkwood Leisure centre near them. Around 10 children in Harry's class attend the same lessons as he does and they are all at varying stages, but all absolutely love their lessons. Children progress at their own rates, so don't worry if your child seems to take longer than others at getting through the stages - it's learning to swim safely that counts, not how long it takes to get there. The Aqua Zone plan is fantastic for children, they can see their progression through the stages, rewards and coloured swim hats they have to wear, and the thirty minute lessons are just enough to give your child some more swimming technique without wearing them out. Harry loves his lessons, seems to have progressed really quickly and enjoys every minute of them. We've just had week 10 which was a fun week for the children, lots of floats and toys in the pool, and the instructors looked as though they were having as much fun as the children. Fantastic fun, children learn an important skill, and one that will stay with them for life... something that is priceless in my opinion. If you can afford it, both Harry and I would definitely recommend AquaZone swimming lessons!
Cost: £60 for 10 weeks. Terms run for 10 weeks, assessment week is week 8, and enrollment week follows in week 9. If you don't sign up by a given date, your child will be removed from the register and their place opened to someone else.
For more information, see http://www.leisurecentre.com/
Thank you for reading!