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How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?

How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?
12 December 2018 1047 Views No comments

In our final instalment of our baby swim series, we ask our experts about the differences in skills an infant swimming teacher has compared to a regular swimming teacher.

Here’s what they said…

Hannah Bree

Turtle Tots Southampton & Solent, ww.turtletots.com/southampton

Facebook: @turtletotssouthampton

Twitter: @TurtleTotsSoton

Instagram: turtletotssouthampton

Hannah runs baby and toddler swimming lessons across the South Coast. It all began for Hannah when she started baby swimming with her little boy when he was 7 weeks old and completely fell in love with it...the rest is history as they say! Hannah and the team are incredibly proud to teach non-pressure, baby led swimming lessons from birth to pre-school.

How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?

“Infant swimming teachers should have a great understanding of not only swimming and teaching, but of what new parents are going through on dry land too. There really is nothing like becoming a parent for the first time and infant swim teachers should be very flexible to the ups and downs of babies and how challenging it can be parenting them!You also need to have a nurturing nature & a flexible attitude!”

Emie Kitson

Aqualight, www.aqualight.co.uk

Facebook: @aqualightuk

Emie has been teaching babies to swim for over 17 years and has also been tutoring baby swimming teachers all over the world since 2003 - most recently in Taiwan and China. Emie also works for the STA (Swimming Teachers Association), is a WATSU practitioner and is a consultant for the ASA on their aqua natal course. She used to tutor for Birthlight but more recently has been involved in developing the Aqua Sensory programme.

How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?

“Extremely different, babies are not 'learning to swim' they are learning how to move in the water. An experienced baby swim teacher needs to understand the non-verbal communication of the baby and be able to help the parents recognise how the baby feels in the water to get the most out of the sessions”.




Rui Duarte

Love Swimming, www.loveswimming.co.uk

Facebook: @loveswimmingdolphinsquare

Love Swimming instructors are handpicked for not only their qualifications and technical knowledge, but also their ability to make lessons fun. Their founders are former professional international swimmers who take as much pleasure teaching babies to have their first fun splashes as coaching top swimmers to the next level. And you won’t find high staff turnover at Love Swimming – continuity is so important when building trust and rapport, so you’ll get to know the same faces and they’ll get to know you individually, taking a personal interest in your progress.

How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?

“To be able to teach an infant class your swimming teacher should be qualified for teaching babies and toddlers in the water”.

Karina Reinhardt

Turtle Tots Edinburgh & East Lothian, www.turtletots.com/edinburghandeastlothian

Facebook: @TurtleTotsEdinburgh

Twitter: @TurtleTotsEdin

Instagram: turtletotsedinburgh

Karina Reinhardt set up Turtle Tots Edinburgh & East Lothian nearly six years ago after the birth of her second child (she’s added a third to her family since then too)! Karina has always been a keen swimmer having swum competitively in her younger years. The team and Karina are hugely passionate about teaching babies and children swimming. Karina is also a STA Baby and Pre-school Tutor and was part of the first few batches of teachers in the UK to undertake the fantastic new level 3 Baby and Pre-school Diploma. In Karina’s opinion, this new qualification has revolutionised the industry and gives parents even more confidence that their team is committed to providing the highest level of teaching for their little one.

How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?

“Teaching babies and young children is a very specialised branch of swimming teaching.Not only does a baby swimming teacher need to be a fully qualified swimming teacher, and so have a full understanding of teaching all four strokes, they also need to be specifically trained to teach tiny babies and toddlers too.

Our classes are all baby-led so it is important that our teachers have learned to communicate with babies really well, understand their development, and ensure the activities in the class are tailored to their individual likes, dislikes and ability at every stage.This ensures that the child is challenged and progresses, but in a fun and relaxed way, which is the very best way to give a child a life-long love of the water.We are also very mindful that we are also working closely with parents and carers in our classes and a baby swimming teacher has to be confident, empathetic and supportive for them too”.

Julie Dugdale

Puddle Ducks North East, www.puddleducks.com/local-teams/north-east


Facebook: @PuddleDucksNewcastleNorthEast

Twitter: @puddleducksne

Instagram: puddleducksne

Julie is the Head of Teaching and Technical for Puddle Ducks in the North East of England and the South East of Scotland. Julie has been a baby and pre-school swimming teacher for seven years, and is also an Assessor and Tutor of trainee baby and pre-school swimming teachers.

How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?

“I teach older children as well as infants and would say it's quite different. The underlying knowledge of swimming and aquatics remains the same, but you can't communicate with babies in the same way! You deliver your activities and give instructions to their parents, but you need to learn to read the cues from the babies to ensure that your lessons are child-led and that the little ones are happy in the water”.



Fiona Munt-Whittle

Aquatots Swimming Ltd, www.aquatots.co.uk

Facebook: @aquatotsswimminguk

Twitter: @AquatotSwimming

Fiona has been teaching babies to swim for 33 years and professionally for 20 years at Aquatots. Fiona has 4 children, eldest with special needs who learnt to swim at 9 months, swimming 7m on his own.

How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?

“When teaching babies to swim, the teaching skill is aimed at the parent and not at the child (to start with), so the baby swim teacher needs to be happy and confident talking to adults.A love of babies and infants is also paramount. It helps if you can sing or at least don't mind singing as there is a lot of nursery rhymes! Flexibility - baby swimming teachers are adapting exercises which as a regular swimming teacher you would have been taught in full.We break these exercises down to teach to the parent and baby.Understanding that armbands, discs, shark fins and other floating aids are not always the best way with babies.They just need their parent/care giver and (ideally) some nice warm water”.

Marjan Moosavi

Blue Wave Swim School, www.bluewaveswim.co.uk

Facebook: @BlueWaveSwimSchool

Twitter: @bluewaveswim

Instagram: Bluewaveswim

Marjan founded Blue Wave Swim School in February 2010 following decades of experience in sports science and coaching swimming. Marjan has a MSC in Sport Sciences and has been teaching swimming since 1993. “I love educating parents about the overall benefits of swimming and what are the best swimming teaching practices. I was named one of the 10 top swimming bloggers the U.K in 2018”.

How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?

“A) Be qualified and know what they are doing; they must be knowledgeable about child development and swimming.

B) Having a big smile is a must.

C) Be interactive with parents and children.

D) Able to modify the lesson plans quickly accordingly to the mood of the class. Little children transmit their moods to other children very easily. If a baby starts crying in class, within a minute other babies start crying too. Good teachers generally can think on their feet”.

Fiona Edwards

Little Dippers Ltd, www.littledippers.co.uk

Facebook: Little Dippers LTD

Twitter: @L_Dippers

Instagram: littledippersltd

Little Dippers was one of the first baby swim schools in the UK. Set up by baby swim pioneer Lauren Heston, they have been teaching their popular baby swim programme for over 25 years. Their aim is to teach babies to love the water while giving lifesaving skills in a fun and nurturing environment.

How different are the skills that an infant swimming teacher should have, compared to a regular swimming teacher?

“There is not a huge difference in terms of the qualifications needed for a regular teacher and a baby swim teacher, all of our teachers need to have their STA levels 1 and 2 plus the baby and pre-school award.

The most important difference is in how classes are taught.Regular teachers will often be out of the pool calling commands from the side and their main interaction will be directly with the children.

Whereas baby swim teachers are in the pool with parents and babies, so it is a much more personal and intimate experience and the teachers need to be able understand and adapt to both the parents and babies' needs”.

Some great advice from our experts! If you would like to share any tips from your own experiences, please feel free to leave a comment below!