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.
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:
Teachers may also hold specialist extension accreditations in specialised areas, such as:
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.
Find out more about AUSTSWIM’s recommendations and aquatic education program guidelines.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
These beliefs have helped us design and develop industry leading courses that produce the best quality teachers in Australia.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
The following information relates to the detrimental impact of abandoning swimming and water safety lessons:
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.
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.
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.
SWIMMING AND WATER SAFETY STARTS WITH US.