WHAT EXPECTATIONS SHOULD I HAVE FROM A SWIM SCHOOL

Every swim school should have trained and licenced teachers who educate students in small classes. Your chosen swim school should also be a good fit with your lifestyle and commitments to ensure your child gets the most out of their aquatic education program.

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Trained and licenced teachers

As the national body for the Training and Licencing of Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety, AUSTSWIM has offered the most robust and comprehensive training for swimming teachers for over 40 years. The AUSTSWIM licencing system is the only one in the world to meet the ISO 17024 standards for quality certification – which is a direct result of our units of competency under the Australian Skills Quality Framework.

AUSTSWIM Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety are held to the highest standard in all areas of teaching. They will always:

  • Be licenced with the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety training criteria.
  • Hold a current and valid cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate.
  • Hold a valid state/ territory-based child protection check.
  • Be covered by AUSTSWIM’s Insurance.

Teachers may also hold specialist extension accreditations in specialised areas, such as:

  • Infants and Preschoolers
  • Access and Inclusion
  • Adults
  • Competitive Strokes

Class sizes

Class ratios should vary according to the age and competency of students, plus the venue being utilised. The following table is a summary of the recommended ratios for infant and preschool programs.

Classification

Age (Months)

Performance Indicator

Maximum Ratio

Baby

0 - 6

Sensory exploration

With parent at home

Infant

6 - 12

Water familiarisation and initial independence

1:8 teacher/parent -child pairs

Toddler 1

12 - 24

Water familiarisation and Initial independence

1:8 teacher/parent -child pairs

Toddler 2

24 - 36

Water familiarisation and basic skill development

1:8 teacher/parent - child pairs

Pre-schooler 1

36 - 42

Water familiarisation and basic skill development

1:5 teacher - children

Pre-schooler 2

42 - 60

Confidence and basic aquatic skill development

1:5 teacher - children

Find out more about AUSTSWIM’s recommendations and aquatic education program guidelines.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Lifestyle Commitment

Selecting a centre that works with your lifestyle is vital. It is beneficial to consider whether a swim school conducts make up lessons for missed classes and school holiday programs. You should also find out whether a swim school bases its lessons around the school term or a year-round program and whether commitment is on a monthly or term-based contract basis.


 

CHOOSE AN AUSTSWIM SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE

AUSTSWIM Schools of Excellence only employ AUSTSWIM Licenced Teachers. Therefore, these swim centres are certified to deliver learn to swim and water safety education programs within their centre.

The AUSTSWIM Recognition scheme has three levels, offering a wider range of centres the ability to gain AUSTSWIM Recognition. These include:

School of Excellence_Platinum

All teachers hold a current AUSTSWIM Teacher Licence and the swim centre has held an AUSTSWIM School of Excellence Premium recognition for a minimum of 5 consecutive years.                

School of Excellence_Premium

100% AUSTSWIM Teachers (previously known as Gold or Silver).
Premium centres only employ AUSTSWIM Licenced Teachers. Look for the Accredited AUSTSWIM Teachers sticker and current Premium AUSTSWIM Recognition Certificate when you visit an aquatic venue.

School of Excellence_Standard RGB

Standard level AUSTSWIM Schools of Excellence meet the minimum requirements for training and assessment, as outlined in the Royal Life Saving Society Australia Guidelines for Safe Pool Operation. Some teachers may still be working towards the licensing requirements and may not hold an AUSTSWIM Teacher Licence.

Licence Checks

AUSTSWIM recommends that parents and participants request to view their teacher’s AUSTSWIM Teacher Licence before commencing swimming and water safety programs. A teacher should hold a current and appropriate AUSTSWIM Teacher Licence, according to the aquatic education program being taught.

Find out more about the expectations you should have from a learn to swim program.

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

How to Choose a Teacher

HOW TO CHOOSE A TEACHER OF SWIMMING AND WATER SAFETY

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IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR ALL CHILDREN TO LEARN TO SWIM AND GAIN WATER SAFETY SKILLS. AUSTSWIM TEACHERS HAVE THE NECESSARY TRAINING TO TEACH SWIMMING AND WATER SAFETY SKILLS TO ALL AGES.

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Brooke Hanson, AUSTSWIM Ambassador and Australian Olympic gold medallist, world champion, and former world record-holder.

AUSTSWIM is dedicated to producing teachers that uphold our philosophy, aims and guidelines for aquatic programs. AUSTSWIM Teachers serve to create an environment that is safer and appealing, with activities that will provide a positive contribution to a child’s physical, psychological, social and emotional growth. As a result of our commitment to teacher training and quality, AUSTSWIM is the only body to meet the ISO 17024 standards for quality certification in the world.

AUSTSWIM believes that:

  • Participation in aquatic activities should be a positive educational experience that provides a range of professionally presented activities and skills for both the child and parent.
  • Children must be encouraged to learn at their own pace and never be pressured into water activities.
  • Irrespective of aquatic ability, children are never safe when in, on or around water and must be constantly supervised by an appropriately skilled person.

These beliefs have helped us design and develop industry leading courses that produce the best quality teachers in Australia.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF CHOOSING A TEACHER

Selecting the right teacher of swimming and water safety is vital to your child’s safety and development. The key areas you may wish to consider include:

Legal Requirements

There are currently no legal requirements for Swimming Teachers in Australia to undergo any formal training or gain a licence. All AUSTSWIM Teachers must undergo rigorous training to receive an AUSTSWIM Teacher Licence, showing their ability to create safe aquatic environments.

Teacher Training

AUSTSWIM is the national body for the training and licencing of Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety in Australia. Our foundation course can last up to 12 months with multiple days of face-to-face training, on site learning, industry experience and assessment. The course itself is highly regulated and is supported by four units of competency in accordance with the Australian Skills Quality Authority.

Teacher Licences

The AUSTSWIM Teacher Licence is valid for a three-year period and ensures teachers are qualified, hold a valid Working with Children's Check and CPR qualification. During this licence period, teachers are expected to undergo further professional development and gain experience to maintain their credentials.


OUR COURSES HAVE

  • Been designed using the experience gained over the last 40 years.
  • Taken into consideration the knowledge and experience of over 360,000 teachers.
  • The most comprehensive volume of face-to-face and online training.
  • Met increasingly high standards to become the industry benchmark.
  • Units that go beyond the basic units of competency.
  • A robust code of conduct that teachers must abide by.
  • Met the international standard for issuing licences and accreditation – AUSTSWIM is the only aquatic organisation worldwide to have achieved this.
  • AUSTSWIM Teachers Insurance – AUSTSWIM is the only body worldwide to cover teachers.
  • The opportunity for future specialisation in specific areas of teaching.

Where are aquatic programs conducted with AUSTSWIM Accredited Teachers?

Water familiarisation, swimming and water safety classes are conducted at commercial aquatic facilities, including private swim schools and home-based centres. AUSTSWIM Teachers can be found in most swim schools, with AUSTSWIM Schools of Excellence offering a significant level of additional cover.

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Swimming Lessons and General Information

Giving your learner swimmer the opportunity to receive vital swimming and water safety education helps to equip them with important life-saving skills. There are a number of significant health, social and psychological benefits that are associated with swimming, thereby putting your child in the best position to live a healthy and happy lifestyle.

The following information is valuable for parents and guardians who are looking to enrol their children in swimming and water safety lessons. It outlines the relevant general experience across Australia and addresses frequently asked questions.

Phases of swimming and water safety lessons

It is important to make sure that your swim centre is AUSTSWIM Recognised before committing your child to the programme. You should also take the following into consideration:

  • The number of children in the class
  • The possibility for make up lessons
  • Payment terms and costs (approximately $15 to $25 per lesson)
  • The length of the lessons
  • Other advantages for your family, such as: free swim times or use of facilities
  • Health fund benefits
  • The possibility of makeup lessons

AUSTSWIM Schools of Excellence educate students using a range of activities including: water familiarisation, social interaction, water safety education, skill acquisition and parent involvement/ education. The number of children in a lesson varies depending on the age and competency of students, plus the venue being utilised.

The programs offered at AUSTSWIM Schools of Excellence will vary. They will likely include:

  • Infant programs: These programs will generally start from 6 months to approximately 3 years of age. The child explores and enjoys the water with their parents.
  • Transition programs: Children develop their skills without their parents at approximately 2.5 years to 3 years of age. They usually have a smaller student to teacher ratio.
  • Preschool programs: These programs are based on water familiarisation, body orientation, safety and survival skills for children between the age of 3 and 6 years.
  • School-aged programs: Swimming and water safety lessons build on preschool programs and include stroke development skills.
  • Access and Inclusion programs: Many swim centres provide programs that cater to people with physical and intellectual disabilities, culturally and linguistically diverse groups and people with chronic illness.
  • Adult swimming and water safety lessons: A relaxed social opportunity to learn swimming and water safety skills as an adult.
  • Adult stroke correction lessons: These classes cater to the increasing number of adults who require stroke correction and development for personal growth or competition purposes.
  • Squad programs: Programs that cater to different levels of swimming, from competing zone and regional levels, to state and national levels.
  • AQUA exercise programs
  • Gender-specific swimming and water safety lessons
  • Older adult swimming and water safety lessons
  • Teenage swimming and water safety lessons

Swim centres have different programs for students and will offer group or private lessons depending on the size of the centre, teacher availability and equipment required for your child. The water is an equalising environment where people of all abilities can learn balance, stability and spatial awareness. Students will also learn life-saving skills and develop their fine and gross motor skills, including muscle strength, coordination and range of movement.

It is important to ensure that your chosen swim centre is AUSTSWIM recognised and the teacher has completed the AUSTSWIM Teacher of Aquatics – Access and Inclusion (TAI) course. It is important that the teacher listens to you and your child and is supportive of your child’s goals.

Swim centres have different programs for students and will offer group or private lessons depending on the size of the centre, teacher availability and equipment required. Where possible, the goal is to be able to provide students with experiences and learning in mainstream classes.

Children flourish under the caring supervision of an accredited AUSTSWIM Teacher who will address their unique needs. The teacher will help them explore a new environment and develop new movement patterns and abilities.

AUSTSWIM recommends that infants and children start their aquatic programs after the age of six months. AUSTSWIM does not recommend formal aquatic education programs for infants under the age of 6 months, based on information from medical and child development experts.

Students will feel a myriad of emotions ahead of their first swimming and water safety lesson. To make the transition smoother:

  • Reassure your child that you will be with them watching the whole time.
  • Ensure an introduction to their teacher.
  • Acknowledge the little wins along the way.
  • Provide appropriate swimwear, plus warm clothes for after and a snack for when they finish.

Students require understanding and support to learn and progress at their own pace.

Learning aquatic knowledge and skill occurs over an undetermined period of time and requires ongoing and consistent participation from the students and teachers.

AUSTSWIM Teachers give children the opportunity to enjoy the aquatic learning experience in a positive and educational environment.  AUSTSWIM recommends that one short, 30-minute lesson be attended each week to create the best learning experience.

What is the standard my child should reach?

Learning is a continuous personal process that is individual to the person, with skills evolving over a period of time. Learning requires ongoing and consistent participation from students to become competent at a range of skills and gain understanding of how to stay safer in, on and around water.

Should my child wear flotation devices in swimming and water safety lessons?

Flotation aids may assist with gaining confidence, independence and skill. However, any activity undertaken with flotation aids must also be attempted without. The use of aids stops the students from understanding how their body moves, reacts and responds in, on and around water. 

How often should my child attend swimming and water safety lessons?

AUSTSWIM Teachers give children the opportunity to enjoy the aquatic learning experience in a positive and educational environment.  AUSTSWIM recommends that one short, 30-minute lesson be attended each week to ensure the best learning experience. You should also stimulate water familiarisation and water confidence by playing safely with active supervision at aquatic venues and environments outside their child’s swimming and water safety lesson.

How long does my child need to attend swimming and water safety lessons?

The amount of time it takes for a child to acquire the most important water safety skills will depend on the person. It is important to note that despite swimming and water safety lessons, no child is ever drown-proof; always supervise your children carefully.

The process of learning to swim depends on many factors. As the Australian way of life is recreational based, some students develop a passion for the sport and continue to swim competitively, whilst others will stop before they reach this stage. When a student stops swimming too early, they no longer practice the fundamental skills of swimming. This will mean the skills are forgotten and lost over time.

Children continue to enjoy many years of aquatic fun after they have completed their swimming and water safety lessons. At a very minimum, parents should ensure their children attend swimming and water safety lessons until they:

  • Can confidently perform safety and survival skills, such as: underwater skills, treading water, signalling for help, floating, entering and exiting water environments.
  • Are comfortable with swimming greater distances.
  • Understand what their own capabilities are in a variety of aquatic environments.
  • Perform a variety of strokes such as: freestyle, survival backstroke or breaststroke.

The following information is a guideline on the amount of time it can take children to learn to swim independently and to learn to save themselves from drowning. In group lessons, the process of learning to swim is slower. This guideline assumes children attend 30-minute private swim lessons weekly, year round:

  • Infants who begin to learn to swim between the ages of 6 and 18 months old will take approximately 1.5-2 years to learn to swim independently and to be safer in, on and around water (approximately 78-104 swimming and water safety lessons).
  • Children who start swimming lessons between the ages of 18 months and 3 years will take approximately one year to learn to be safer in, on and around water (approximately 52 swimming and water safety lessons).
  • Children older than 3 years old with no previous swimming experience will take about 6 months-1 year to learn to be safer in, on and around water (approximately 24-52 swimming and water safety lessons)

The best age for your child to begin the process of learning to swim is as close to six months as possible. The sooner your child begins to learn to swim, the sooner they will learn to be safer in, on and around water.

The most important factors that come into play when learning to swim include:

Consistency

Once kids begin the process of learning to swim, consistency is key. It is important to keep the lessons/water visits consistent and avoid taking long breaks from swimming until the child can swim independently. A consistent swimming schedule allows for muscle memory to form and keeps the progress going. Taking breaks from swimming (e.g. during the winter months) will set back the learning process, as the child will have to reacclimate with the water or relearn previously learned skills upon resuming swimming.

Frequency

Most parents opt for their children to undertake swimming and water safety lessons once a week. In this case, it’s important to keep the lessons consistent. Swimming twice a week or more allows for great progress and helps children learn faster. Additionally, practicing with your child is a great way to help them learn faster and increase their confidence in, on and around water.

Fear of water

Children who are introduced to the water at an early age and in a positive manner are more likely to develop a love for the water and not be afraid – which will help them learn to swim faster. If a child is afraid of water, it may take longer to learn to swim. Parents can take an active role in helping children alleviate their fear by taking them to the water whenever possible. Once the little swimmer is relaxed and happy in, on and around water, learning skills such as submerging the face or the back float will come easier.

Motor skills and natural abilities

Physical abilities, coordination and motor skills all play a role in how quickly a child will learn to swim. Learning to swim comes easier to children with good natural abilities. Children who have motor skills difficulties may take longer to learn, so the parent and instructor should be patient and work at the child’s pace. For those children, swimming and water safety lessons also help them to improve their motor skills and coordination.

Private swimming versus group swimming lessons

The dynamic between private swimming lessons and group swimming lessons is different. Children enrolled in private lessons will learn to swim faster, as all the attention is focused on the child. The teacher can individualise the class to the child’s needs and can concentrate on the areas that need most attention.

The downside of group lessons for non-swimmers is that children spend most of the lesson waiting for their turn and they don’t receive as much one-on-one attention or actual swimming time. One positive aspect of group lessons for beginners is that some children can get motivated to learn by watching and playing with their peers in, on and around water.

It is important to continue swimming lessons until the student has mastered the skills that could save their lives. At a very minimum, parents should ensure their children attend swimming and water safety lessons until they:

  • Can confidently perform safety and survival skills, such as: underwater skills, treading water, signalling for help, floating, entering and exiting water environments.
  • Understand what their own capabilities are in a variety of aquatic environments.
  • Are comfortable with swimming greater distances.
  • Perform a variety of strokes such as: freestyle, survival backstroke or breaststroke.

The following information relates to the detrimental impact of abandoning swimming and water safety lessons:

  • Three out of four children quit swimming classes by age eight, long before they've learned skills that could save their lives.
  • Children may be more vulnerable later as teenagers when undertaking aquatic activities and when they're less likely to be supervised.
  • Children who have been pulled out of swimming lessons too early are likely unable to tread water for two minutes – the goal for children by the time they finish primary school. They are also unlikely to be able to swim 50 metres of freestyle or backstroke and 25 metres of survival strokes.

There are many positive impacts that result from continuing with swimming and water safety lessons for children. Swimming is one of the few public health interventions that is low cost with a high return on investment. It is more than a sport and physical pursuit – it is a life-saving intervention. Children who have regular weekly lessons are more likely to reach national safety and swimming benchmarks around 9-10 years of age.

Staying the course is vital to provide your child with the skills they need to have a safer experience in, on or around water.

Become A Swimming Teacher

There are excellent opportunities across Australia for people to become an AUSTSWIM Licenced Teacher.

With an AUSTSWIM accreditation, you will not only have the skills to teach your child how to swim, you may also be in high demand for swimming teacher positions across the country.

Parents and carers who would like to play an active role in their child’s swimming and water safety lessons can become an accredited AUSTSWIM Teacher. Find out more.

The Importance Of Water Safety

Learning to swim should be a priority for every family. It's an important life skill that can help to prevent drowning. Children and their parents need to learn how to swim to help ensure that they have a safer time in, on and around water. It’s important to note that undertaking swimming and water safety lessons does not make a child drown-proof.

Always keep in mind that swimming and water safety lessons are just one of several important layers of protection required to help prevent drowning. Your child will need constant and focused supervision when in, on or around water. It also is essential to block access to pools during non-swim time.

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SWIMMING AND WATER SAFETY STARTS WITH US.

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