A hot topic on any school yard. When, where, how…waiting lists…. A challenge for any parent, but for our international DelftMaMa parents it must be a nightmare I can imagine. I’m Marjolijn, voluntary swimming instructor at swimming club d’ELFT and mother of 2 boys. Because I know how challenging living abroad can be, I am a member of DelftMaMa. Since I joined DelftMaMa, questions on swimming lessons came by on a regular basis and I replied multiple times; hence time to write it down in a blog.
by Marjolijn Verleur-Horsselenberg
Questions people raise, and mostly in this order are…
When is best to start swimming lessons? How does it work with these diplomas? You teach at a swimming club? So, you are not part of the municipality (the regular swimming lessons offered at the swimming pool)? So where can I go to then? How do I choose?
This read will not be as hilarious as the previous blog post written by Gaelle, but hopefully I can give some answers to above questions.
Did you know that most kids start at age 5 or 6?
Listening to the parents at the school yard, you would think ALL kids start at 4 and ALL parents have signed their kids up for swimming lessons from the day they turned 3. Never forget: You are the best person to make that decision. Think about the following: Is your child mentally and physically ready? How is the development of motor skills? Can they already keep attention to a lesson for 40 min? Do not forget that turning 4 is period of major change for your child. Say goodbye to day care, the teachers and friends. Say hello to a new school at a new location, with new teachers and class mates, new ways, new rules, potentially also new BSO with more new teachers and children. This is A LOT! Maybe that waiting is list not so bad…and starting at 5 either. But is your child already nagging for months when it can finally start, I would encourage you to start asap.
Did you know there is no one-and-only swimming diploma?
There are various institutions that developed swimming diplomas in the Netherlands. ZwemABC, ABC-ENVOZ and SuperSpetters. Handy to keep in mind whilst you do your enquiries.
The main institutiton that developed swimming diplomas are the NRZ – Nationale Raad Zwemdiplomas – developed the famous ZwemABC diplomas. Where the apple of your eye will learn in 3 diplomas to swim safely: ENVOZ – developed A(Otter), B(Bever) and C(Zeehond) diploma which is internationally recognized by the International Federation Swimming Teachers Association; KNZB – Royal Dutch Swimming Federation developed SuperSpetters diploma where the children are trained for one diploma, equivalent to the C Diploma.
Important? Well, although in the end they all learn to swim sufficiently and safely (in case they complete all 3 diplomas of ZwemABC and ABC-ENVOZ), there are differences to note. With the SuperSpetters method they start learning to crawl first, the stroke that comes near to the naturally “doggy-stroke” you see with babies and toddlers and therefore easier to learn. They use swimming caps, goggles and zoomers. ZwemABC starts with the single backstroke and breast stroke as to their opinion these strokes are easier to sustain for a longer period in case of emergency. Their vision on using goggles is that visual orientation is important also without goggles…. just to be clear, your child is not riding his bike down the “gracht”(canal) wearing his swimming goggles 😉
Did you know not only the municipality offers swimming lessons?
Swimming lessons are not only offered by the municipality, but also swimming clubs and private swimming institutes offer swimming lessons. Here is a list of them in Delft, Ypenburg and Rijswijk:
OptiSport (Gemeente Rijswijk) De Schilp. Own diploma but based on ZwemABC
Zwem- en waterpoloverening d’ELFT (Kerkpolder) NRZ ZwemABC
Delfste Watervrienden (Kerkpolder) NRZ ZwemABC
Delftse Reddingsbrigade (Pool Weteringlaan en Kerkpolder) NRZ ZwemABC
Hofspetters (Hofbad Ypenburg) offer ABC-ENVOZ and Superspetters
RZV-Excelsior (Steenvoorde Rijswijk en de Schilp Rijswijk) NRZ ZwemABC
Zero2Hero (Basalt Delft) ABC-ENVOZ
Zweminstituut (Sophia Delft, de Schilp, ) NRZ ZwemABC
Zwemschool Wetterwille (IPSE deBrugge Nootdorp) NRZ ZwemABC, using EASYSWIM method (floatsuits and directly in deep water)
Zwemplezier (Steenvoorde Rijswijk) NRZ ZwemABC
Zwemschool de Zeester (Steenvoorde Rijswijk) ABC-ENVOZ
What to choose?
- Make a shortlist based on specific preferences you might have, such as type of diploma, day of week or location.
- GO SEE. Have a look how they run the swimming lessons. How are the teachers? Do you like the way they teach? Contact them and ask any open questions.
- Find out if there’s a waiting list. If there is a waiting list at your preferred location, try to register your child at different location at the same time. For example, at our club you can sign up for free, so no strings attached.
- Ask for a trial lesson before you finally decide.
I can almost hear you saying ”Yeah great Marjolijn, you made the decision even harder now”…But at least I hope you can make more informed decision. 😉
Did you know that some BSOs offer transport to swimming lessons?
Some BSOs offer to bring your child to the swimming pool for swimming lessons. Check with your BSO about the possibilities.
Final advice: Enjoy the swimming lessons of your child. Enjoy the fact that YOU cannot do anything for about 45 minutes: RELAX! Enjoy the warmth (especially in the winter – but dress yourself as per the onion principle (layers). Put your mobile aside and watch your loved one grow and get better every lesson, encourage and praise them for their efforts! Celebrate together also the smaller achievements! Go to the swimming pool together on a Sunday morning and have fun together in the water.
Written from Zwembad de Veur in Zoetermeer whilst encouraging my boy at a swimming competition 😊 I sincerely hope this information has been valuable for you.
Marjolijn is a local Delft mom who lived in Germany for almost 10 years. Mom of 2 boys age 8 and 11. She has worked for several multinationals and has started recently her own business as a virtual business manager, where she supports small and medium sized companies to work more efficiently by systematizing business workflows, working from her own office in Rijswijk. In her spare time she is a volunteer at swimming club d’ELFT as a swimming instructor and Stichting IQ+.