There is some question over the inclusion of parents in early years swimming. Clearly in the young babies’ classes, this is a non-negotiable. But it may be worth considering when parents/adults should be taken out of classes. I suggest that for many parents, the idea of being in the class is attractive for a while but they are keen to get out as early as possible and leave the teaching to the expert. However, a number of events have occurred to get me to rethink this.
First is a safety issue. If the parent or adult is with the child, then there is constant supervision and hence, a very high level of safety. It is a big ask for a teacher to be able to monitor all children in a class.
Second there is a time-on-task issue. If there are four children in a class, then when the teacher works one on one with a child, the remaining three are left to their devices. In contrast, while a parent or adult is with the child, then the time on task is potentially 100% of the lesson. This is good value for money. At the same time, the adult is learning how to work with the child so that they are well informed on how to better play with the child in informal contexts such as the backyard pool or at the beach.
Third, there is a bonding experience that is possible when the parent or adult is in such close proximity with the child. Spending such close time with the child creates opportunities to bond.
Four, there is a lot more potential for active play when the parent or adult is with the child. Allowing the child to glide through the water, splashing, submersion, and so on are possible with the parent who can now utilise the lesson time to practice many skills and just enjoy learning and bonding times.