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Swim class reported: kids still can't swim

The Local · 20 Jul 2012, 10:26

Published: 20 Jul 2012 10:26 GMT+02:00

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“We have given up on swimming classes and will be practicing at home instead,” the mother, Lorena Abubakar, from the Stockholm district of Bandhagen told daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

According to Abubakar, the course, which was organized by the municipality of Stockholm, claimed it would teach the children to manage 25 metres of backstroke swimming and 25 metres of breaststroke at the completion of the course.

But when the course finished, not a single one of the participating 5-year-olds had learned to do either after 16 lessons.

“Several of the parents were upset that the kids had just been allowed to play in the water throughout the whole course,” Abubakar said.

But when Abubakar contacted the municipality to get her money back she was told that the course required that the children practiced at home.

And municipality planning director for sports, Kjell Olofsson, told DN that the city doesn’t guarantee that all the children will know how to swim after completing the course.

“That is our aim and what we are teaching, but we don’t go out and make any definite promises,” Olofsson told DN.

However, he didn’t think that there were reasons enough to lower expectations of the children’s swimming proficiency after the completed course.

“These goals are set based on the children’s developmental phase and are probably decided upon internally together with the Swedish Life Saving Society (Svenska Livräddningssällskapet – SLS),” said Olofsson to the paper.

Neither did he think that the course’s stated goals amounted to false advertising, despite none of the children learning how to swim.

“Absolutely not,” he told DN.

According to the paper, Stockholm municipality has no plans to reimburse the disgruntled parents.

A recent study suggests that there are significant differences between the quality of swimming courses within the greater Stockholm area.

The survey, carried out by insurance company Trygg Hansa, showed that 25 percent of Stockholm children between 4 and 17 can’t swim.

Story continues below…

In the district of Västertorp, south of the city, 39 percent of the participating children could swim after completing the course. The corresponding number of children from posh inner city district Östermalm was 86 percent.

“This is unacceptable. Knowing how to swim could be the difference between life and death,” said the deputy mayor for education in Stockholm, Lotta Edholm, to the paper.

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The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:07 July 20, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
...does actually help if the erm... teacher teaches them...? or if the teachers were trained to teach...?
11:08 July 20, 2012 by 160kph
My 3 year old son has just started swim school and the thing that struck me was the way the instructors were dressed, they were all wearing waders and fleeces. They look like Alaskain crab fishermen.

I realise that in a outdoor pool that it might be a little cold to be in the water a lot but they made it look so uninviting that after three days the children still don't want to even be in the water. Children aren't stupid they can see that the instructors are wrapped up for the cold and are very wary of the whole experience, One boy after three days won't even go past the gate that leads to the pool. I do hope it improves as I don't think I can stand another 12 days of watching kids refusing to go near the water.
11:49 July 20, 2012 by krattan
"In the district of Västertorp, south of the city, 39 percent of the participating children could swim after completing the course. The corresponding number of children from posh inner city district Östermalm was 86 percent. "

Not surprising. Most kids in Östermalm probably have access to a boat and spend more time at or near the sea. They are also children to high achievers who probably have higher expectations both on themselves and from their parents.

I would think most parents think of swim school as somewhere to put children on a daytime basis as a replacement for "dagis". Not saying it is wrong, it is summer time after all and time to relax and have fun.
13:00 July 20, 2012 by Puffin
I think that the course goals might have been rather ambitious - that you are going to take a group of non swimmers and turn them into proficient swimmers of different strokes after a few lessons. Age and previous water experience are also important issues

A lot depends on the composition of the group - when my daughter learned to swim there were some kids that were scared to get their face wet and were flatly refused to let go of the sides

.... and then there were some awful parents who made it a misery for everyone by screaming at their kids from the sides and shouting at the teachers. Our group had a test after several lessons for the "silver frog" badge that involved swimming 10m and jumping in the deep end - one parent had a screaming match with the teacher that their little darling failed this test- on the jumping in part - it was the parent of the child who refused to get her face wet and flatly refused to jump in! But the parents thought she should pass anyway
13:15 July 20, 2012 by sometimesinsweden
The best way for a child to learn to swim is to be taught by their parent in a one-on-one lesson initially. The reason for this is that the initial stage of learning is about confidence in the water and so they need to trust and know the 'teacher. Putting a complete beginner into water with an instructor is largely a waste of time as a lot of kids won't have the confidence to learn quickly and the instructor will be spread over around 4-8 children and not have the time to develop the right relationship. You can't sub-contract all of parenting no matter how much Sweden tries to promote it.

Best thing to do is spend a few hours in the water with your child, teach them confidence, to float and doggy paddle and then put them in classes to teach proper swim stroke and to have FUN.

My ex- put our son in swimming lessons at a similar age in Gothenburg and it was a complete waste of money. He learned more in 3 pool sessions with me throwing him in off the side than he did in 10 expensive ones with a qualified teacher.
19:40 July 20, 2012 by Soha1234
We would recommend you to try Monas Simskola in Stockholm. They have very good swimming courses with proven results where the children have learnt to swim.

They even offer swimming lessons in English.
19:54 July 20, 2012 by dizzymoe33
The parents should get their money back if the children didn't learn how to swim unless the child refused to go into the water then that is too bad. But you are paying for services for someone to teach something to your child and they should be compensated if it did not happen.
20:34 July 20, 2012 by Gretchen
My daughter did 3 courses and did not learn how to swin in our commume. We teach her ourselves now and she is almost there! Very disappointing. She liked the course, but as so often here there was no pressure at all to perform well. I don't think that forcing children is the right approach, but with no pressure at all you get no result.
21:02 July 20, 2012 by Trenatos
16 lessons and not a single child had learnt how to swim?

Obviously the people running the course has failed, and the parents should be given their money back.

Claiming that there are no guarantees isn't an excuse that's useable unless the majority of children learn how to swim.

Also claiming that the kids need to practice at home is ridiculous, you held *16* lessons, yet none could swim? If you can't teach a single child to swim in 16 lessons without them "practicing at home", then obviously it would be the parents teaching their children to swim and not the course leaders.
10:21 July 21, 2012 by Soft Boiled
You can lead a child to water but you can´t make it sink!
08:11 July 22, 2012 by prince T
I will always be greatful to the instructors that taught my children to swim last summer. It was awesome seing them getting the cert after 3 weeks. I that sponsred the course cannot still swim. Though no crash course for adults in my area.
16:30 July 22, 2012 by whoye
go to the pool with your child and teach them how to swim yourself. pay little attention to your child, spend some time with them, you stupid people. when that child grows up the only thing that he/she's gonna remember about you that you payed for his stuff, and that is it. and you call it to be a good parent, you idiots
20:19 July 22, 2012 by 160kph

Before you start making out that parents sending there kids to swim school don't spend enough time with them. I for one manage to spend a lot of time with my son, maybe more then most. I just felt that as a poor swimmer myself that he may benefit from "professional" tutoring. For the three weeks of his classes either me or my wife will be attending and watching by the side of the pool the same as all the children attending.

Maybe before offering your opinion you might want to stop and think, as on this subject you have shown yourself to be both ignorant and needlessly rude.
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