My 5-year-old daughter, Sara, just passed her first swimming exam! Swimming is taken really serious here in the Netherlands, which is not surprising if you consider the amount of water which surrounds us. Children are taught how to swim at an early age and have to prove their abilities by passing a difficult exam. They have to dive through an underwater hole, show they master different stroke techniques such as breast stroke, back stroke, front crawl, and lifesaving techniques which mean they have to swim fully clothed (with shoes on even!). I remember having to pass the same test as a child and it was very difficult and tiring. I hated having to swim with all my clothes on! How do you teach your kids to swim? Are there similar swimming exams in your country?
P.S. Photo of Sara during her exam.
I think that’s soooo important. Unfortunately, here in Germany we have the opposite trend. More and more public swimming pools have to close due to financial difficulties of the communities and less and less chirldren know how to swim! 🙁
I remember my swimming exam as well (called “Seepferdchen Prüfung” which sounds very cute I think!). We didn’t have to swim in clothes but I think that’s a good idea as it can really help prevent deadly accidents!!! Oh yes, and congratulations to Sara!
Thank you for sharing this story – it is so interesting to see how things are done in other countries.
When I was little, I went to a school in Oslo with a swimming pool. We had swimming lessons every week from 1st-9th grade, with the kind of exams you mention.
Unfortunately, my children are going to another school in Oslo -without a swimming pool . They will not get any swimming lessons through kindergarden or school before they are 10 yrs old, when they go to a pool in the neighbourhood. Some choose to let their children attend swimming courses, which I definitely will let my eldest do before this summer – she is now six.
Congratulations to your daughter 🙂
Here in Ireland we have nothing like this, unfortunately.
Here in the US, through the American Red Cross, children can achieve certain swim levels up through exams. I did this as a child. Last year Levi was so terrified of the water that I got him into private swim lessons at our club, mostly to make sure if he ever found himself in the water he could survive. He is a really good swimmer now so much so we have decided that swimming will be his sport. And good job Sara.
Here in the UK swimming is part of the national curriculum with the aim that all children can swim 25 metres by age 11. How this is achieved I’ve yet to find out as I think schools only give children 20 lessons.
Almost all pools,public and private offer lessons from baby age upwards. Both my daughters have had lessons from about3 months, my 3 year old cannot swim unaided yet but is confident in the water and knows how to float on her back and or get to the edge of the pool and hold on if she falls in.
Since one of my friends lost her 23 month old when she fell in a pond and drowned my husband and I have placed even greater importance on our girls learning to swim
We have are kids in private lessons in the U.S. It is on us to teach our children, so if you value it and can afford lessons.
I cannot find any swimming lessons in Paris for kids under the age of 6. I have looked everywhere as most of the kids I know who live abroad know how to swim at approx. five years of age!
To add on to Besty’s comment. It’s true – in New York at least you really have to take it upon yourself to teach your kids to swim and/or find an instructor/class which can be quite expensive. I myself learned the good ole fashioned way (basically being chucked into a pool and having to figure it out quickly!) but I signed my girls up for lessons which has been worth every penny. They were swimming by age 4 and as a result love the water. I on the other hand, do not….
In Italy we can keep babies to the swimming pool from 3 monyhs old in private pools, from 1 y.o to the public pool.
Exams depend from pool to pool. In our public pool, close to the center of Milan, they don’t have real swimming exams and swimming lessons have very slow results. But in any case before 6 y.o they teach the child to swim alone. That’s good!
When i was little, i went to a private pool where there were 2 exams a year; it was a pain for us, and my brother has a bad memory of those days…..
However i think that swimming is essential for our life (may be because we live in Italy and the sea – during summer holidays – is always so close…)
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