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Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Swimming and Water Safety for 5 to 13-year-old girls and boys

What to expect, what fun will be had, and how your child will progress their swimming and skills

To share our love of water we’ve designed the Swimming for Bigger Kids programme to be highly accessible and allow for easy and steady progression for children of all ability.

Teacher Led & Supported Section

The programme is all about our teachers working alongside with your child to teach them confidence and skills. We work on building your child’s comfort in group environments and in teacher led situations, priming them for school activities and outside group activities.

It’s done through fun, water games, sequences of play, but it is highly structured for progression. The weekly sessions follow a structured session by session and term by term plan. These plans are managed by your teacher and designed for your child’s comfort and to progress children at a comfortable pace. 


What to Expect Section

Week 1 begins with assessment and a gentle introduction for children so that they get comfortable and relaxed in their group. We ensure they are at their comfort level and move forward then with gradual progression, working on the skills relevant to their current abilities. Your child will be supported and encouraged by their teacher. Week by week, and term by term, we move them through the progressive stages detailed below. 

Programme Intro Pages

We recommend new comers to first read through our programme intro pages

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Next Term Timetables

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Programme Stages

Breakdown

The junior programme contains 15 stages in total. These are segmented by three separate levels, your child will join either in the Seal group, the Marlin group, or the advanced Orca group. 

Where to Begin

Read the levels below, choose the level that best suits your child’s current ability. If you are unsure drop us a mail or a call. Don’t worry if you get their level wrong, it’s easy for us to move your child up or down a grade if we get it wrong at the outset. 

How Stages Work

We assess a child, we consult with the parents where appropriate and then the child begins progressing through their stage, term by term. Child comfort and progression is key. All children progress at their own rate, so we constantly monitor each child and ensure that they are in the level that best suits them. 

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Seal - Level 1

This is a beginner’s stage for children that are starting lessons for the first time and for children that may be a little nervous. It is a gentle but progressive programme. They will be introduced to pool rules and begin learning the practical swim essentials - floating, movement and breathing. They will be carefully introduced to water safety and the water environment. We want them to have a fun and enjoyable introduction to the pool. 

Theory, Learning & Tests:

  • Water safety in The Swimming Pool
  • Water safety on a farm
  • Being water safe in the home
  • Intro to Pool Rules

In the Pool:

  • Safe water entry
  • Introducing the basics – floating, movement & breathing
  • Getting comfortable with the water over your face
  • Learning to use woggles, arm bands, boards.
  • Floating on tummy and back with aids
  • Learning to move using floats
  • Learning to bob up and down
  • Safe water exit
  • Answering questions on pool rules

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Seal - Level 2

This level is for children that will have already had some experience in swimming pool and aren’t too nervous. In this course they will advance their knowledge of safety hygiene and pool rules and begin becoming comfortable and moving forward with basic skills, movement and buoyancy. We want them to become confident being in the water and ready to move forward. We will also introduce the children to world of underwater.

Theory, Learning & Test:

  • Safety, hygiene and rules at The Swimming Pool
  • Being very safe at rivers and lakes
  • Water safety on a farm
  • Being water safe in the home
  • Calling the emergency services

In the Pool:

  • Safe entry
  • Being capable of fully immersing face in water
  • Being able to push and glide in prone position and regain standing position
  • Propulsion with the aid of a kickboard or suitable support
  • Answering questions on safety, hygiene and rules
  • Safe exit

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Seal - Level 3

The kids at this level are now comfortable in the water. We move onto practice of personal safety around water and calling the emergency services. We begin swimming short distances with aids and developing our breathing patterns. We will comfortably submerge our full faces & body under water. We will promote interaction and partaking in basic water games.

Theory, Learning & Test:

  • Safety, hygiene and rules at The Swimming Pool
  • Being very safe at rivers and lakes
  • Water safety on a farm
  • Being water safe in the home
  • Recognising the hazards of water
  • Calling the emergency services
  • Flotation
  • Learning about water safety organisations

In the Pool:

  • Answering questions on personal safety, focusing on hygiene and pool rules
  • Water entry using steps and ladders
  • Fully confident immersing face and head in water
  • Blowing bubbles (breathing techniques) while under water
  • Picking up lightweight objects from the bottom of the pool with eyes open
  • Finding friends under the water
  • In shallow water, demonstrate confidence by:
    - Walking making patterns
    - Jumping and side stepping
    - Turning while standing
  • Water games and songs
  • Now you can swim 2 metres using aids
  • Water exit using steps and ladders

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Seal - Level 4

In this level our children will already know all about safety and rescue and now we will move forward to independence and swimming without the use of floats or aids. We will also introduce some basic land demonstrations of skills & strokes. Understanding of blowing bubbles and creating breathing pattern. Also taking part & playing simple water games. 

In the Pool:

  • Enter the pool by sitting, turning and sitting into the water
  • Whilst standing, front crawl, back crawl and sculling
  • In shallow water, be confident walking, changing direction, avoiding obstacles, floating and sinking
  • Blowing, nosing and heading floating objects
  • Catching objects
  • Playing games such as chasing and relays
  • Swim 2 metres prone without aids
  • Swim 2 metres supine without aids
  • Exit the water getting out without support

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Seal - Level 5

Now we’re beginning to get distance into our swimming, our little seals will learn to swim prone and supine, and to become fully independent in the water. This is focused on awareness of whole-body buoyancy without aids. We’ll begin introducing new floating and stroke techniques and introducing fun elements, such as jumping in and running in the pool. 

Theory, Learning & Test:

Being able to confidently tell the teacher about personal safety, focusing on hazards of water and flotation – being fully knowledgeable about all the safety.

In the Pool:

  • Now we want to introduce full independence!
  • Jumping, Side Stepping & Running
    - Jump across the pool
    - Sidestep across the pool
    - Run across the pool
  • Use the breast-stroke – arms – whilst standing
  • Demonstrate mushroom and star float
  • Swim 4 metres prone
  • Swim 3 metres supine
  • Swim 3 metres fully independent

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Marlin - Level 6

Marlin levels are for children already independent and swimming short distances. We will now develop their strokes, treading water, and get the little Marlins swimming 5 metres plus in different strokes. In this level we will introduce basic skills for throwing buoyancy aids – rings & ropes to safe distressed swimmers. We will also teach basic skills for open water safety. 

Theory, Learning & Test:

  • Focusing on rivers and canals. Being able to confidently tell the teacher about personal safety, focusing on hazards of water and flotation.
  • Throwing buoyancy aids to people
  • Throwing ropes to people
  • Throwing ring buoys to people

In the Pool:

  • Learning how to deal with entry for difficult conditions (sit down / slip in)
  • Swim 5 metres freestyle / doggy paddle
  • Swim 5 metres supine
  • Swim 5 metres breaststroke
  • Show ability to turn from prone to supine
  • Show ability to turn from supine to prone
  • Demonstrate ability to tread water
  • Do a hand stand in chest deep water

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Marlin - Level 7

Demonstrating short swims with basic stroke skills of front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke and also introducing the basics of dolphin kick. Introduction of rescue with buoyancy aids. Also developing survival skills such as treading water. They’re getting advanced now!

Theory, Learning & Test:

  • Focusing on inland water ways. Being able to confidently tell the teacher about personal safety, focusing on hazards of water and flotation – being fully knowledgeable about all the safety and throwing rescue elements thought up to level 6.
  • Calling the emergency services
  • Rescue with buoyancy aids
  • Rescue with ropes
  • Rescue with ring buoys

In the Pool:

  • Demonstrate 2 safe entries
  • Swim 8 metres front crawl
  • Swim 8 metres back crawl
  • Swim 8 metres breaststroke
  • Swim 5 metres dolphin kick
  • Tread water for 15 seconds
  • Push and glide underwater and pick up objects from pool floor
  • Demonstrate 2 safe exits

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Marlin - Level 8

Now we’ll begin teaching more advanced rescues, such as rescue in open water areas. They are already swimming up to 10 metres and able to demonstrate and hold correct stroke technique and show basic skills up to dolphin stroke. They are ready to learn the basics of sculling and diving.

Text Intro:

  • Now we’ll begin teaching more advanced rescues, such as rescue in open water areas. They are already swimming up to 10 metres and able to demonstrate and hold correct stroke technique and show basic skills up to dolphin stroke. They are ready to learn the basics of sculling and diving.

Theory, Learning & Test:

  • Focusing on beaches and inland water ways. Being able to confidently tell the teacher about personal safety, focusing on hazards of water and flotation – being fully knowledgeable about all the safety and rescue elements thought up to level 7.

In the Pool:

  • Enter the pool by means of jumping feet first
  • Swim 10 metres front crawl
  • Swim 10 metres back crawl
  • Swim 10 metres breaststroke
  • Swim 8 metres dolphin kick
  • Swim 5 metres inverted breaststroke
  • Demonstrate butterfly arms while walking
  • Scull 5 metres headfirst
  • Scull 5 metres feet first
  • Tread deep water
  • Headfirst surface dive (1.5 metres)

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Marlin - Level 9

Distances in this level are increasing to 15 metres, with a wider variety of strokes and the ability to hold correct stroke technique. Treading is getting advanced, and these little guys are eager to learn, practise and master more. We will now introduce water ball games. 

Theory, Learning & Test:

  • Focusing on water safety skills in water situations. Being able to confidently tell the teacher about personal safety, focusing on hazards of water and flotation – being fully knowledgeable about all the safety and rescue elements thought up to level 9.

In the Pool:

  • Entry by jumping into the water feet first
  • Swim 15 metres front crawl
  • Swim 15 metres back crawl
  • Swim 15 metres breaststroke
  • Swim 10 metres dolphin kick on your side and back
  • Swim 10 metres inverted breaststroke
  • Swim 5 metres side stroke
  • Swim 5 metres butterfly
  • Play water pushball
  • Tread water for 30 seconds
  • Feet first surface dive

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Marlin - Level 10

Holding correct stroke technique up to 20 metres distances here, and now we begin swimming underwater and diving beautifully and safety. These kids know just about all there is to know about water safety in and out of the pool. We will introduce to water polo and understand it’s basic rules. 

Theory, Learning & Test:

  • Focusing on water safety skills in water situations. Being able to confidently tell the teacher about personal safety, focusing on hazards of water and flotation. 

In the Pool:

  • Demonstrate entry for unknown and difficult conditions
  • Demonstrate early diving practices
  • Swim 20 metres front crawl
  • Swim 20 metres back crawl
  • Swim 10 metres butterfly
  • Swim 15 metres inverted breaststroke
  • Swim 10 metres side stroke
  • Show ability to tread water for 1 minute
  • Play water polo
  • Headfirst surface dive
  • Swim 2 metres underwater

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Orca - Level 11

The Orca levels are for children that are very comfortable and experienced in the water. The distances here get much longer and the techniques are advanced. We will bring awareness to their own ability to signal for help in difficulty. Oral tests around safety and rescue are introduced. 

Theory, Learning & Test:

Focusing on water safety skills in water situations. Being fully knowledgeable about all the safety and rescue elements thought up to level 10. Introduction of the principles of signals to call for help. 

Oral Test: Focusing on how to contact the emergency services

In the Pool:

  • Entry by standing dive
  • Swim 25 metres front crawl
  • Swim 25 metres back crawl
  • Swim 25 metres breaststroke
  • Swim 20 metres inverted breaststroke
  • Swim 15 metres butterfly
  • Swim 15 metres side stroke
  • 20 metres various sculling
  • Tread water with 1 minute and signal for help
  • Feet first surface dive and swim 2 metres underwater

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Orca - Level 12

They are going further and further, 25 metres plus with front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke, inverted breaststroke…..the list goes on. We will extend survival skills practice to calling for help in difficulty whilst fully clothed. 

Theory, Learning & Test:

Focusing on water safety skills in water situations. Being fully knowledgeable about all the safety and rescue elements thought up to level 11. 

Oral Test: Principles of Simple Rescue

In the Pool:

  • Entry by standing dive
  • Swim 25 metres front crawl
  • Swim 25 metres back crawl
  • Swim 25 metres breaststroke
  • Swim 25 metres inverted breaststroke
  • Swim 25 metres butterfly
  • Swim 25 metres side stroke
  • Tread water for 1 minute and signal for help whilst wearing clothes
  • Surface dive in deep water and take objects from the pool floor
  • Demonstrate reaching and throwing rescues

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Orca - Level 13

We’re sweating, it’s 50 metres now, and the safety and rescue skills get even better. These kids are ready to summersault!

Theory, Learning & Test:

Focusing on water safety skills in water situations. Being fully knowledgeable about all the safety and rescue elements thought up to level 12. 

Oral Test: Actions in an emergency

In the Pool:

  • Simple dive
  • Demonstrate a straddle jump
  • Swim 50 metres front crawl
  • Swim 50 metres back crawl
  • Swim 25 metres breaststroke
  • Swim 25 metres inverted breaststroke without use of arms
  • Swim 25 metres butterfly
  • Swim 25 metres side stroke
  • Summersault in water (chest deep)
  • Tread water for 1 minute and signal for help whilst wearing clothes
  • How to disrobe in deep water

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Orca - Level 14

Now, our kids will be able to teach the emergency services their jobs, and even get in a swim up to 50 metres to help them along the way. These children are very competent and capable swimmers and will now learn all about basic lane swimming rules. Are these little fish beginning to think about competing?

Theory, Learning & Test:

Focusing on water safety skills in water situations. Being fully knowledgeable about all the safety and rescue elements thought up to level 13. 

Oral Test: Hypothermia and Personal Survival

In the Pool:

  • Competitive dive
  • Swim 50 metres front crawl using bilateral breathing
  • Swim 50 metres back crawl
  • Swim 50 metres breaststroke
  • Swim 25 metres butterfly and 25 metres double arm back crawl with dolphin kick
  • Swim 25 metres inverted breaststroke
  • Swim 25 metres side stroke
  • Demonstrate reaching and throwing rescues
  • Competitive turns for all strokes

Swimming Courses for Bigger Kids

Orca - Level 15

Our most advanced Orca’s are more advanced than many of our pro swimmers! Now we’re beginning to think about competition or advanced lane swimming, we have 100 metre swimmers on our hands. 

Theory, Learning & Test:

Focusing on water safety skills in water situations. Being fully knowledgeable about all the safety and rescue elements thought up to level 14. 

Oral Test: Water Safety Awareness (all aspects)

In the Pool:

  • Competitive style starts for all stroke
  • Swim 75 metres front crawl using bilateral breathing
  • Swim 50 metres back crawl
  • Swim 50 metres breaststroke
  • Swim 100 metres individual medley
  • Show ability to tread water for 2 minutes
  • Demonstrate reaching and throwing rescues
  • Demonstrate legal turns all of the above

Questions we get asked a lot…

I’m not sure which level my child is at?

That isn’t a problem. We assess the children on their first day, and in consultation with you we can move them up or down a level that suits them best. We will always ensure a child is in the right level for their age, skills and comfort level. Or, just give us a call or drop us a mail, we can tell you what level best suits your child.

What happens if my child doesn’t take to it or if they can’t learn?

Every child is an individual and will learn at their own pace, be that slowly or quickly. We are used to this. Confidence takes time and practice. Whenever your child needs encouragement and support, our teachers are beside them to provide it. As we say in Swimtastic, no Swimmer is left behind!

What happens if we are going to miss a class?

If your child is going to miss a class, please check with your teacher by email to see if there is space in an alternative class on an alternative day that they could attend to make up for the one you missed. We want you to get the full value of your booking but please note, credits or refunds are not possible for missed classes. This is because all the costs associated with running a course need to be met regardless of whether people make all their booked classes or not.

My child is really nervous – will this work for him or her?

Our teachers are very experienced with working with children that are nervous or apprehensive. We’ve helped hundreds of little swimmers get over their nerves. Our goal will be to get our children to relax and enjoy their swim lessons through fun, song and play.

What are the pool, parking and changing facilities?

Each of our facilities have free parking. For full details on the pool and changing facilities at your location please click here.

What do our customers say?

I have three children swimming with Swimtastic, beginning with the Duck n’ Dive and up to the Junior program. Over the space of last year my eldest little girl has become so confident and is really enjoying herself in the junior classes. Which is what it’s all about, thanks to Zuzana and her team. Swimtastic are so friendly, accommodating and responsive to queries. Highly recommend these lessons for children
Patricia Troy - Portlaoise
We wanted our daughter Emma to get used to the water and become confident in the water. The outcome was so much more than I expected! Elaine her teacher is amazing, it is super to see Emma’s confidence grow. I cannot recommend Elaine enough, she has so much patience, enthusiastic and is excellent with each of the children in her class. She is just fantastic and a real credit to your team. Would highly recommend Swimtastic classes!
Anne Hernon Tarpey and Emma - Portlaoise

Accreditation

All our Courses have been specially designed by the Swimtastic team and we are affiliated with; Swim Ireland, Water Safety Ireland, STA (UK), and Birthlight (UK).

Talk to us

To learn more or ask us any questions please use the form below. We also offer periodic free taster classes and we'll email you to offer you a place when theres one in your area. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Your family swim club

At Swimtastic we pride ourselves on providing swimming programmes for all ages and abilities.

Look through our other programmes pages