A Parent's Guide to Your Child's First Kindergarten Swimming Classes - All your Questions Answered

Your child’s first Kindergarten swimming class is a milestone in their development.

Whether your child is progressing to kindergarten classes after completing a parent and baby program or it’s their first swimming class, it’s only natural to have questions.

Often called toddler or pre-school programs, your first kindergarten swimming class marks a milestone as it’s usually the first time your child attends a class without you, as caregivers are not typically required to accompany swimmers.

You’ll find everything you need to know in this essential guide, from what to pack, what to expect and what you can do to help your swimmer get the most out of their lessons.

Kindergarten swimming lesson benefits


What swimming skills will my child learn by completing a kindergarten swimming program?

Water familiarisation – sometimes called safety or awareness – confidence and independence are the core learning outcomes of the early phases of a kindergarten program.

Teachers focus on swimmers getting comfortable in the water without a parent/caregiver as they introduce foundational skills such as kicking, back floating, bubble blowing and jumping into the pool without floats.

As a swimmer’s water confidence grows, preparation for freestyle stroke will begin. During these lessons, you’ll see teachers increase the frequency a swimmer submerges their face and extend swimming distances with the goal that your child will swim without floats.


Will swimming lessons help my child transition to daycare/school?

Many parents attribute swimming lessons to helping their children develop motor, listening and social skills, which are transferable to pre-school and school.

The Griffith Institute for Educational Research conducted one of the most detailed studies into understanding the benefits of children learning to swim.

Researchers surveyed parents of 7,000 under fives and discovered that children who learn to swim at a young age reach development milestones earlier than children who don’t.


What age should I enrol my child in a kindergarten program?

Swim schools typically offer programs for children of all ages, from baby and parent classes to squads.

Classes are age-based or skilled-based; swimmers need to either be the prescribed age to enrol or meet entry requirements.

Kindergarten programs tend to be age-based, designed for children from aged two and a half to four years old. However, confirming age requirements with your selected swim school is always best.

Preparing for your child’s kindergarten swimming classes 


What does my child need to wear?

Well-fitting swimwear is essential to ensuring your child is comfortable when they’re in the pool.

A one-piece suit, jammers or briefs are all excellent options, and if your child needs help managing their body temperature, a long sleeve rashie or suit can be helpful.

If your swimmer is yet to be toilet trained, a swim nappy is a must too.


Will my child need to wear arm floats?

Helping swimmers relax, grow confidence, practise skills and increase body movement is why arm floats are helpful learning aids.

Plus, arm floats enable teachers to control inflation. You’ll notice the air is decreased in your swimmer’s floats as they develop their endurance and strength.

As well as having these benefits, floats are a safety tool and particularly helpful when new swimmers are practising bar skills. While teachers will always supervise swimmers when they’re learning techniques, such as monkeying along the wall, holding the bar and safe exits, floats ensure swimmers are safe should they let go of the bar.


What to expect from my first kindergarten class?

Whether your child previously attended parent and baby classes at your swim school or it’s their first formal swimming class, it’s recommended to arrive early. After all, their kindergarten experience is usually the first class they will be in the pool without you.

Your child’s first solo class may trigger a range of emotions, so be prepared for excitement, fear or even tears. While it’s natural to feel protective of your swimmer, crying is a typical reaction, and we encourage you to avoid using it as a reason to stop attending classes. While it’s a difficult reaction to hear, it’s important to remember that your child isn’t in danger – they’re simply making their teacher aware that they’re uncomfortable.

Your teacher and on-deck supervisor will monitor your child to ensure they have the best possible first class experience and, if necessary, may reduce their swimming time. If this occurs, your swimmer will be assisted to exit the pool safely, and your teacher will end the class on a positive by saying something like, “Great job today. You’ll do even better next week.”


Answers to the 10 most popular questions parents ask about children’s swimming classes

Answers to the 10 most popular questions parents ask about children’s kindergarten swimming classes


1. How long is a swimming class? 

A beginner swimming class is no more than 30 minutes to ensure your child stays active and comfortable.

The swimming industry’s governing bodies, AUSTSWIM and The Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA) recognise half-hour classes as the gold standard for swimmers to learn, be engaged and receive teacher feedback.

Plus, half an hour enables busy families to commit to attending weekly lessons.


2. Should my swimmer start swimming lessons during summer?

You may have overheard parent friends share, “we’re waiting until summer to start swimming classes”. And we’re here to tell you that this was probably sound advice before indoor, heated pools were available; however, today, this could risk your child falling behind.

Swim schools offering pools heated to 32 degrees year round ensure swimmers are guaranteed to be comfortable whether it’s raining, hailing or shining.

Maintaining an active lifestyle is a year-round job, so help your child learn positive habits that will last a lifetime by commencing classes whatever the season.


3. My child is scared of getting in the pool. Is it best to delay starting lessons?

If your child is nervous about starting swimming lessons, they’re not alone. Feeling fearful is common, and there is usually a combination of factors, from disliking getting wet to separation anxiety to recalling a negative experience.

The Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA) indicates that the longer a child is kept away from water, the more they are at risk of developing aquaphobia.

Aquaphobia is a fear of water and can include being afraid of showers, baths, swimming pools and the ocean.

If you’re concerned your child is showing signs of being aquaphobic, it can be tempting to postpone enrolling in classes. However, evidence shows that children are unlikely to grow out of a fear of water, and a better solution is to commence classes as soon as possible.

Need more advice? Seek guidance from your chosen swim school.


4. How many other swimmers will be in my child’s class? 

Class sizes and swimmer-to-teacher ratios vary across different environments.

Boutique and smaller swim schools specialising in child learn to swim programs typically program a maximum of four swimmers for beginners classes.

Aquatic educators champion small group classes as the best teaching environment. Collaborative learning motivates new swimmers as they witness classmates practising skill repetition to master specific techniques.


5. Do I need to dress my child for swimming before arriving at the centre?

Having a consistent “get ready for your weekly swim class routine” can be particularly helpful for new swimmers.

An essential part is deciding when is the best time to change your child into their bathers. Usually, the deciding factor is whether your child requires a swim nappy.

Swim nappies, while effective in the pool are not absorbent. So to avoid a wet car seat, it’s best to change them into this at your school (to avoid leakages, don’t forget to read the nappy’s instructions).

Concerned you’ll forget your swim nappy? Don’t worry, swim schools stock a range of reusable and disposable options.



6. Will my swimmer have the same swimming teacher in each class?

Swim schools will do their best to try to ensure teacher continuity. However, if your regular teacher is unavailable, not to worry! Swimming teachers undergo the same training, so swimmers are always guaranteed a consistent learning experience.

Like most teachers in Australia, swimming teachers are required to hold accreditations. These include:

These qualifications are bolstered by your swim school’s internal training program, where instructors receive in-depth coaching to teach the school’s specific program.


7. How do I find out what part of the pool my lesson takes place?

Upon confirming and completing your family’s booking, your swim school will share a class confirmation indicating the day, time and location of your booking.

On arrival at your class, you’ll be directed to check-in, and your swimmer’s lane will be displayed.

To help your teacher prepare for your class, ensure you complete the check-in process before going to the pool deck.


8. What happens if my child is sick and can’t attend their swimming class?

Being unable to attend an occasional swimming class because your child is sick is highly likely.

With more and more schools running lessons year round, this often means regular bookings are available, which can include rewards such as the ability to rebook if your swimmer is unwell and extended cancellation periods.

Before enrolling your swimmer, ask your school for their cancellation policy.


9. How can I help my child get the most out of their swimming classes?

In addition to attending your weekly swimming classes, the best thing any parent can do is be their child’s biggest swimming cheerleader.

Learning to swim is a process that takes practise and time, and celebrations and challenges are part of the journey.

From being ready on the pool deck with a towel at the end of class and a cheerful “Great class, well done” to displaying your swimmer’s certificates on your family’s fridge, figure out what type of encouragement your child responds to and keep doing it.


10. What should I do during my child’s swimming lessons?

While it’s tempting to use your child’s class time to catch-up on work emails or scroll your favourite social channels, paying attention to the skills your child is learning could help them progress faster.

While sitting on the pool deck, listen to the language the teacher uses and observe the techniques or drills swimmers are practising.

Before your child’s next swimming class, remind them of the skills they learnt in the previous lesson – this will help them remember and retain techniques.

Are you ready to book your family’s kindergarten swimming lessons? 

State Swim has been helping kindergarten swimmers learn water safety and foundational skills for over fifty years. Our dedicated Kindergarten Program offers two classes, Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2, for children aged two and a half to four years.

Ask our team about booking your weekly class to enjoy perks, including unlimited Make-Up Vouchers, 24/7 access to manage your bookings and the ability to view achievements online.


State Swim is a registered Swim Australia aquatic educator. All State Swim swimming teachers hold nationally recognised swimming and water teacher accreditationsWorking with Children Checks and CPR qualifications.

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