Now I'm waterproof

18th April 2008 at 01:00
For a recently qualified teacher like myself, swimming classes can be daunting. But this course gives you confidence and great ideas. The morning session is devoted to safety. There is also some good advice about child protection issues. You have to be careful about who goes in the changing rooms, and it's best if teachers work in pairs so that no one is on their own with a child.

Once the theory is out of the way, you get into the pool for some practical work. We learnt how to make children more confident in the water, by encouraging them to splash around, wet their faces and blow bubbles.

For non-swimmers, the big fear is not being able to breathe. By asking children to blow inflatable toys across the pool, they get used to breathing and moving in the water.

There is also some more technical work, looking at the different strokes and at how best to develop children's swimming as they get older and more confident. We also learnt some warm-up routines, and water-based games, for swimmers and non-swimmers.

Since the course, I've done a series of swimming lessons with our Year 3 pupils. Several children who were non-swimmers have started to get the hang of breaststroke and covered five or 10 metres. It's so satisfying to see pupils make that kind of breakthrough. Confidence really is the key

Charlotte Manning is PE co-ordinator at Ramsey Community Junior School in Cambridgeshire. She was talking to Steven Hastings

The details

The Amateur Swimming Association's national curriculum training programme is held at venues around the country. There are two levels, depending on experience. Upcoming courses include June 26 and June 27 in the West Midlands. Costs vary. For more information, visit www.britishswimming.org (click on teachers and coaches).

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