about nursery swimming? and wwyd?

(64 Posts)
WandOfElderNeverProsper Fri 06-Sep-13 00:08:00

I'm doubting myself as I'm not sure if there's something I'm missing here...

DD has been given a place at a school nursery. Good school, but out Of our catchment so we chose their nursery to improve her chances of getting in to the school.

The school has a swimming pool, and they take the nursery children in once a week for lessons. I asked the teacher how it works, and she said that there is an instructor, at the side of the pool with one or two teachers (I'm going to assume lifeguard trained) at the side, then two teachers in the pool with the kids.

I asked how many kids are in the pool at a time and she said 13?

Am I right in thinking a ratio of 2:13 in an adult-waist high swimming pool is nuts??? How is one teacher supposed to hang on to 6/7 kids by herself, never mind instruct them in any way!

DP seems to think I'm worrying over nothing, so I wanted to canvas some opinion and also ask wwyd? I'm very tempted to say she can't participate in the lessons or at least only if I can come and watch them? (I'm lifeguard qualified if they wanted a volunteer). Or is there something I'm missing here?

DD is just turned 3 if that makes a difference - the youngest in the class.

WandOfElderNeverProsper Fri 06-Sep-13 00:17:20

Sorry for any typos - on phone!

I think it will be OK. I know a reception class is older, but when my DC were in reception, their swimming lessons had two adults in the pool and one or two adults round the side (30 kids).

Is it definitely adult-waist depth water? Do you know if your DD could stand up in the water? (I mean, not be out of her depth)

Its a better ratio than 2:13, really from what you described it sounds like 5:13? If a child was in trouble one of those adults round the side could be in the pool in seconds.

But I think it would be absolutely fine to say you wanted to come and see a swimming lesson (or more than one) before you gave permission for your DD to do it.

megsmouse Fri 06-Sep-13 00:27:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WandOfElderNeverProsper Fri 06-Sep-13 00:36:55

I guess I'm just wary because of her age - I'd never leave her for a second in the bath because of the whole... Drowning in a few seconds thing. I worry that with so many kids they might not notice her in trouble until it was too late? 5:13 including the teachers at the side is still just over 2 kids per adult. Mistakes happen. I'm not sure if taking 13 toddlers into a swimming pool between 2-5 adults isn't asking for something to go wrong.

I am a massive worrier though.

And no, she can't stand up in the water, the pool is deeper than she is tall.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 06-Sep-13 00:39:30

If it would reassure you, you could probably ask to see their risk assessment?

AnneUulmelmahay Fri 06-Sep-13 00:46:29

Attendance at attached nursery unlikely to form part of admittance criteria. Assuming state sch here.

MrsCocoa Fri 06-Sep-13 00:51:03

It makes me feel anxious too - that's a lot of pre-school aged non-swimmers to keep simultaneously under close supervision. But not sure how well founded this reaction is however: checking the risk assessment sounds a good idea?

ukatlast Fri 06-Sep-13 00:59:47

YANBU you should trust your instincts and definitely go along - even get in the water. At that age (3) it is more usual for swimming lessons to be 1:1, often the parent in the pool with the child.
In your shoes, I would insist on going along myself or simply refuse permission. It's highly unlikely that the teachers on the side are trained lifeguards - I think the actual instructor will be the only trained one.

ukatlast Fri 06-Sep-13 01:03:33

Quote OP: I am a massive worrier though.

And no, she can't stand up in the water, the pool is deeper than she is tall.'

No you are not being a worrier, you are a trained lifeguard (hence better qualified than most) assessing whether it is a weekly risk you wish to take with your 3 year old.
You are the only one who will suffer long-term if it goes horribly wrong...if you are SAHM, make sure you are there to keep her and other kids safe.

If she cannot safely stand up in the water - will she have a flotation aid of some kind or are these frowned upon thesedays - how else can she feel safe without one?

WandOfElderNeverProsper Fri 06-Sep-13 01:40:24

I'm glad its not me! I will definitely ask if I can go along and see a lesson first. I just can't get my head around how it works? The teacher said there would be floats etc, but that's even more dangerous in a way - I remember clearly as a kid being stuck under the water under a large float! Nothing bad happened as I was a strong swimmer but I can easily imagine that spelling disaster for a little kid.

Maybe I will go and it will all be set up in such a way as I'm worrying needlessly.. But still! The last time I took my daughter swimming I had to hold on to her the entire time as she couldn't even manage treading water with a float. Can't imagine 13 kids like that being safe at all!

1:1 would be fine, as a PP mentioned that seems to be the norm in toddler swimming, the instructor is instructing the parents on how to help the toddler rather than teaching the kids directly iyswim?

NatashaBee Fri 06-Sep-13 01:43:34

YANBU - I wouldn't like this either. If you take your young child swimming at a public pool you can usually only have one or two children per adult.

baddriver Fri 06-Sep-13 02:15:01

It would worry me, too.

I have seen 2 close drownings at swimming lessons with groups of 4 children so this sends alarm bells ringing for me

Beastofburden Fri 06-Sep-13 02:22:30

The facts sound plain weird and I can't help wondering if that teacher has got it quite right. Surely there must be legal standards about all this? None of the kids will be able to stand up in deep water, so I just don't understand how it can work physically.

Anyway, I would volunteer to come along and help, as you are trained, and then you can improve what does sound like a bizarre situation.

Kafri Fri 06-Sep-13 03:41:14

I've got to question whether its all that safe taking anyone in a pool where they can't stand for any prolonged length of time?? Or am I just over thinking it here...

HitTheNorth Fri 06-Sep-13 03:47:17

That sounds ridiculous, whether the teachers on the side are lifeguards or not, they would struggle to watch all those children. Also, does a nursery place definitely form part of the entry criteria for the school? It didn't for ny dc's primary school.

aufaniae Fri 06-Sep-13 03:56:25

DS (4) goes to lessons at the local pool. They have up to 8 children and 2 instructors, plus a life guard, plus all patents watching from the side. One instructor is on the side, one in the water. The kids hold on to the side, and take it in turns to swim across, with instructor in the water right next to them / holding them up (floats too). There's a fair bit of time spent waiting for your go, only one swims at once.

If they do it like that I can see how it could work. I would also ask to see a lesson.

aufaniae Fri 06-Sep-13 03:57:51

The water is too deep for them to stand, although they can touch it with tip toes.

aufaniae Fri 06-Sep-13 03:58:44

Why do you think it will increase your chance of a place?

aufaniae Fri 06-Sep-13 03:59:47

Sorry I meant they cab touch the bottom with their tip toes!

Our school (in Singapore) does that. The kids in the nursery class (aged from just 3 years old) go in the baby pool first and all are assessed before moving to water 1.2m deep (out of their depth). Anyone who needs armbands or other flotation devices are given them, mums help out at each lesson and teachers and teaching assistants are in the water too. I used to help out and am a qualified swimming instructor. Safety is paramount but each parent helper / teacher/ TA / swim teacher is watching 2 or 3 children as they swim widths / jump in etc. It's not difficult, classes were 18-20 kids and rules were always followed (excellent and well respected teacher!).

It's the norm in Singapore for most kids to be swimming independently by about 3 so most had no flotation devices but some were new. Kids came on in leaps and bounds and it was fun to help out, I never felt I wasn't able to properly supervise or keep a close eye on the kids I was allocated. Fwiw, ever tried helping out at a lifesaving lesson with 30 8 year olds, in 3m of water all wearing pyjamas? Ratio was 10 kids to 1 adult. Good job I was in the water so no-one saw how much I was sweating!

Swimming in a group of peers is fantastically good for learning and confidence but I'm surprised that there are only a couple of teachers in the pool for 13 kids. I would ask to spectate at a lesson and quiz the swim instructor on their safety policy and the reasoning behind it. If you're not comfortable with the information you receive from this, you are perfectly able to request your dd doesn't participate. You are ultimately responsible for your child's safety and this is one of those times where you have to make a judgement call. Don't feel "persuaded" if you're not happy with the set-up.

Ducky5867 Fri 06-Sep-13 04:41:40

Could it be that the pool has a moveable floor (so they can actually can stand up in it) and just forgot to mention that bit to you?

My Dd nursery takes them weekly swimming since age 2.5/3 yrs depending on child. The ratios are same as you described - 2 professionals from swimming pool at side and 2/3 nursery teachers in pool depending on number of kids going that week - usually around 10 can be up to 15.

The pool has moveable bottom - all kids can stand up - just. They are all given arm bands and the more experienced ones (duckling award 3 plus
Can just use a shark fin if they prefer). The ones aiming for duckling 4 or higher have opportunity to have their floatation devise off for a little while each lesson to practice proper swimming.

I think it's brilliant, I have been to watch a couple of time, and fully happy with it. My dd has duckling award 3, one year left at nursery to get the final 2, and then she gets to skip first stage of proper lessons when older. Only wish schools took them as often as nursery - as once she starts school she will have to do lessons on a Saturday.

Ozziegirly Fri 06-Sep-13 04:57:11

My 3yo has swimming lessons and the ratio is 3 kids to one instructor - but I am by the side too and could leap in if DS was in trouble. He can stand though as there is a ledge at the side ( a wide one).

MrsMook Fri 06-Sep-13 06:02:07

I'd ask about observing a lesson. DS1 (2 1/2) has lessons with me in with him. He can finally stand in the shallow end (he's short and was the only one who couldn't for ages) There's not much he can't do, but moments when he needs someone close to help if he's struggling to correct himself- usually when he's out of his depth. (no armbands etc) I'm not sure of the set-up when he changes classes at 3 as they go from babies to swim school schemes, so think it is more independent then.

Littlefish Fri 06-Sep-13 06:40:12

I just wanted to pick up on one of your points, as others have too.

In most cases of state schools, attendance at a nursery has no influence on whether your child gets a place at the school. Are you absolutely sure about your information? I would hate you to be disappointed.

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