The Experience of Swimming Lessons in Market Harborough
We’re delighted to share a story from a parent. It’s a story about her experience of local swimming lessons in Market Harborough and the difficulty she had in finding something suitable for her two children.
I’m not a competitive mother. I didn’t sign my kids up to swimming lessons in the hope that they would become gold medalist. I just wanted them to learn how to stay alive in water and not drown. I also thought that swimming would be a fun thing for us to do together when they were really little, and – let’s face it – it’s a pretty valuable life skill to have.
Like most people, my search for swimming lessons in the Market Harborough area began and ended with the Leisure Centre. There really aren’t a lot of other options and it seemed like the obvious choice given that they teach hundreds of kids a week and it’s local. I started off taking my daughter when she was around the age of two. We went together to the preschool sessions, which mainly consisted of games and getting them used to being in the water. When she reached school age she automatically graduated to the ‘red hat class’ where she’d have to fend for herself and hopefully learn how to swim.
A year on and she was still in the red hat class. It was quite funny at the time because by this point she towered over all the fresh faced little kids coming up from the preschool class. She took no interest in the ‘babyish games’ they were still playing with her at age 5. Other kids seemed to get moved up or around to different groups, presumably these were for kids with better abilities, but I don’t know because we never found out! I’d like to reiterate again that I’m not a competitive, pushy parent. I didn’t long for my daughter to be moved to a different class, I just thought it was odd that she was so much bigger than the other kids in her group and a lot more able.
As the weeks went on, my daughter completely lost interest in her classes. Her winging about swimming soon turned into a complete reluctance to go and tearful nights before the day of her swimming lesson. What made it even more frustrating was that the teachers (who were different each week) said, almost every week, ‘why is your daughter in this class? She needs to be moved up!’ My response every week was ‘well let’s make it happen.’
After many more weeks of being told that she needs to be assessed and then moved over, my daughter (and I) had finally had enough. The lack or organisation and consistency had driven me to complete despair and in protest to the whole shambolic chaos, I quit her swimming lessons – much to my daughters relief.
I didn’t want my daughter to lose confidence so I took her along to the nearest alternative in Corby. However, it was a similar experience. A chaotic, hurried, sausage factory experience where the teachers never bothered to learn the childrens’ names and instead referred to them as ‘pink suit’ or ‘orange hat’. Nice!
In between this experience with my daughter, my son began his own swim journey at Harborough Leisure Centre. We enjoyed the pre-school lessons where we casually wasted 30 minutes of day, tipping water over each other and jumping off the side of the pool. My son was always super confident in the water so these classes seemed a tad pointless, but he wasn’t ‘allowed’ to progress onto the next class until he turned three (he was only four weeks shy of this).
The change to the ‘red hat class’ for my super water-confident son was again, a complete disaster. It took him a while to adapt to the change of me not being in the pool with him, which was made worse by the fact that he had a different teacher virtually every week. Rather annoyingly, every teacher called him by the wrong name – which he hated! Full of fear, boredom and frustration he began to dread every session. It got so bad that he would cry the night before, all the way there, during and after each and every swimming lesson.
In a bid to get him to settle into his new class (actually, by this point we’d been going for about 4 months), the teacher would ask me to leave the pool side. At every lesson I was banished to the changing rooms where I would wait for an agonising 30 minutes, listening to him cry and teachers calling him by the wrong name. In all fairness the individual teachers tried their best with him but he really wasn’t enjoying it. I cancelled his lessons in the end and didn’t even attempt to try somewhere else.
Finding a Good Swimming School.
A few months later I overheard some friends literally raving about a local swim instructor, Jane. Apparently their kids loved their lessons, progressed well and could actually swim at the age of four, five and six. Despite my kids’ lack of enthusiasm I decided to book both kids in with her. The biggest appeal for me was that Jane holds her swimming lessons in Kibworth, in a private pool just out towards Market Harborough. No more travelling to Corby. Great!
Week one I was apprehensive. I was expecting a full on tantrum from my boy and utter disdain from my daughter. To my complete shock, I got neither. When we arrived the teachers were really friendly and gently coaxed both of them into the pool. They had bags of gentle persuasion, patience and enthusiasm AND they already knew their names. BONUS! The best part was, they both really, really enjoyed it. My daughter wasn’t bored, my son wasn’t scared, and I was relieved!
For little children these sessions are ideal. With a maximum of 8-10 children (depending on pool size), the classes are intimate. You can tell that the teachers tailor their teaching style in accordance with the kids, work on their weaknesses and encourage their strengths . After about three swimming lessons with Jane’s team, my daughter could actually swim! She swam an entire width underwater, and before long was swimming completely unaided. My son has built a relationship with the swim instructors who are in the pool with him – this feels a million miles away from the old teachers who just barked orders from the edge of the pool. Additionally, because Jane’s lessons are in private pools he isn’t distracted by the busy leisure centre environment.
I wanted to write about my experience for two reasons. Firstly, I was that parent. The one you feel sorry for when you see their kid not cooperating when they really should be grateful and having fun at their swimming lesson. I was that mum crying each week in the changing rooms.
I don’t pander to my children often but on this occasion I knew there had to be a better alternative to dragging him there each week. Secondly, when I sat by the side of the pool each week with the other parents, nobody had a good word to say about their own experiences. Everyone complained about the random teachers, their child’s lack of enthusiasm and progression, the uncleanliness of the pool and the complete disorganisation of the place.
One parent told me that before moving to Market Harborough from Surrey all three of his children could swim. However, since the move, none of them could swim and spent most of the lesson disinterested and splashing around. For this reason alone, I wanted more people to be aware of the independent swim instructors out there and the amazing work they do. These people are qualified, attentive and in a whole other league. Ultimately, it probably comes down to being a smaller organisation and less of a swim factory. If you’re looking for swimming lessons in Market Harborough I would highly recommend Jane’s Swim School and her session at Kibworth Grange.
While they may be a tad bit more expensive the results come a lot faster, so you probably save more in the long run. If it wasn’t for Jane and her team my kids would still be crying and splashing around in ‘red hats’. I can’t thank you enough.