zacharie swimming lessons

[twitter]I loved it when, in January, my son’s school took the kids on a series of ski lessons.

While I was disappointed that the lessons happened while I was at work (and I couldn’t take time off to watch his first slide down the slopes), he loved the lessons and it was something we wouldn’t have done for him this year.

This month, however, the school will be taking the kindergarteners out for a series of swimming lessons. As per usual, these field trips will happen during the day when most parents are working and unable to attend. This means weekly (almost daily) requests for volunteers to come and chaperone the kids in the change room. These kids are 5 and 6, fully capable of changing themselves from school clothes to swimsuit, but chaperones are needed for assistance, I get it.

When you’re a working parent and unable to take 4 half days over the course of a week to supervise swimming lessons, that means you hand over your naked child to a random parent in your kid’s classroom. Police checks are mandatory to volunteer at the school, but still.

My sons have been taking swimming lessons since they were less than a year old. Zacharie loves the pool and is very excited for a week of jumping in to the water with his friends, but I have hesitations about letting him go.

While I loved the opportunity he was given for skiing lessons, are swimming lessons something schools should be providing? Aren’t most to all 5 year olds in swimming lessons? If you need to send out countless emails begging for male volunteers to attend the change rooms, shouldn’t that be a sign that perhaps these kinds of activities aren’t possible during working hours because of parent schedules? Would you be comfortable sending your son on a swimming field trip at 5 years old with “random dad” looking after their nakedness in the change room?

Learning to swim is, in my opinion, a mandatory life skill. If schools insist on offering the program, they should wait until an age where as many change room chaperones aren’t needed and children are more self-sufficient. I appreciate the efforts schools make to give our kids experiences beyond the classroom, but some things (like looking after naked kids) are better left to the parents.dadcamp fire

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  1. Geoff April 2, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I’m very happy for your family that you are able to, and have been, taking your kids to swimming lessons. We have done similarly.

    However, our kids attended an inner city school where very few of the families were able to make that opportunity for their kids.
    We live in a small city with a reservoir, creek, and large river.
    The classmates of my kids are significantly more likely to be playing in or at any of the waterbodies than on the slopes.

    I was pleased to see that our school council paid for swimming lessons for grade 2 and grade 4 students. Those lessons are likely to be the only ones that many of the students receive.

    Thankfully I was able to make time in my work schedule to chaperone in the changeroom on a couple of the days. And golly!!! The kids need an adult in there! Not to help them change, but to keep them focused on changing and to keep them from screaming like banshees!

    Anyway…that’s just my opinion. YMMV.

  2. admin April 3, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Our kids go to a private school (for now), so ability to pay for lessons is not an issue for this crowd. I’m fine with schools offering swimming lessons, I think it’s a GREAT idea, I just don’t think it needs to start in kindergarten. I would prefer it be done at an age where random parents aren’t needed to look after naked kids in the change room.

  3. gbswales February 6, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Being able to swim is a basic safety skill and should be taught at the earliest age possible. I am 75 now and we used to change in communal changing areas with adult supervision. without anyone giving it a second thought. Where has this modern day paranoia about kids privacy come from because it certainly didnt exist when I was young – and we all survived OK.

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