myfirstswim academy

Welcome to myfirstswim academy.  We are delighted that you have chosen our swim academy as the first step of your child’s water education.  Our swim academy team is looking forward to supporting you and your child’s progression through their water education journey.

The framework that myfirstswim academy uses to get your child confident in the water is designed and endorsed by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA).  The tuition and support is therefore in line with best practice.

The core principles that underpin myfirstswim academy have been taken from the ASA’s Foundation framework for swimming.  This framework is about getting your child confident in the water and teaching them the core aquatic skills using a fun and games led approach.  To help keep the children motivated, there is a range of bright awards with fun and friendly characters to reward them as they progress.

myfirstswim Academy form [online form, opens in new window)

myfirstswim academy brochure [pdf]

Days/Times

Details of days and times below.  The courses are booked in a 10-week block, one x 30 minute lesson per week and cost £95.  This excludes bank holidays, where the 10-week block may be reduced to 9 or occasionally 8 sessions. The cost of the course is then reduced accordingly. If you are interested or would like more details please contact us on 01325 406000.

Fun themes, nursery rhymes and friendly characters are used to take your child through their 10 week course.  Each course is designed to target a specific age group and each age group is represented by one of our friendly characters:

Penguins - Ages 0-1 yrs (maximum of 8 in group)
Tuesdays, 9.30am -10am
Tuesdays, 1pm-1.30pm
Wednesday, 10.15am-10.45am

Hippos - Ages 1–2 yrs (maximum of 12 in group)

Tuesdays, 10.15am-10.45am
Tuesdays, 1.45pm-2.15pm
Wednesdays, 9.30am-10am 

Dolphins - Ages 2-3 yrs (maximum of 12 in group)
Tuesdays, 11am-11.30am
Tuesdays, 2.30pm-3pm
Wednesday, 11am-11.30am

Academy Pack

All parents who enrol their child onto myfirstswim academy receive an academy pack.  The pack includes:

Parent’s Guide – this explains your child’s water education journey.

Discovery Duckling and/or Lola and Sammy Book – these books are a colourful guide to help your child learn the basic swimming skills.  The books can be used to log your child’s progress as they develop their swimming ability week-by-week.

ASA Awards File - this is a lifetime keepsake and will help to log your child’s progress throughout their water education journey.  The file is also relevant when your child graduates into our mainstream ‘Learn to Swim' programme.  The Learn to Swim pathway is the next step of your child’s water education journey.

Invitation to Graduation Week – week 10 celebrates your child’s water education progression.  This will include a free photograph of your child’s graduation.

Waterproof Wallet - to keep your welcome pack protected.

Interactive Toddler Pool – FREE FOR ACADEMY CUSTOMERS

Our interactive toddler pool has been newly refurbished in 2016 and offers fantastic, interactive fun for young children.  Directly following your lessons you can enjoy 30 minutes of complimentary water fun in the toddler pool with your child.

A Warm Family Welcome

Buggy Park – there is a small dedicated buggy park located within the family changing village.  There is also a large buggy park located just outside of the changing village next to Under the Sea soft play area which can be used as an overflow. Pram locks can be hired from reception for £5 which is fully refundable once returned.

Crèche Facility – we offer a crèche facility on weekday mornings between 9.30am – 11.30am.  You can book any (pre-school) siblings into the crèche whilst you and your child are attending myfirstswim academy.  Our crèche team can arrange to bring your child to poolside changed into their swim wear if you want to complete your lesson with some water fun for all of the family.

Mobile Changing Tables - on poolside there will be a number of mobile changing tables available to support your experience.

Breastfeeding Friendly – all areas of the Dolphin Centre are breastfeeding friendly and have been awarded breast feeding accreditation.

Family Room with Baby Change and Nursing Chair – is available on the first floor directly outside the Bistro.

Bottle Warming Facilities and Microwave to Warm Baby Food – is available within the Bistro.

Baby Menu and Young Peoples Menus – including healthy menu options and smart swap options are available from the Bistro.

Retail – a range of swim nappies, baby swim pants, swimming costumes, floats and swim toys are available from our retail section at reception.

If you have any questions about myfirstswimacademy or would like to make an appointment to come and speak to a member of the academy team please email healthydarlington@darlington.gov.uk or telephone 01325 406971.

myfirstswim academy Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to prepare my child for myfirstswim academy and support their progression during their course?
Bathtime is a great time to get your child used to the water.  Singing songs and playing games in the bath with toys will help your child to embrace the water and make the idea of being in the water fun.
We also recommend bringing your child swimming outside of their lesson; the more exposure they have to the water the quicker their confidence will grow.

What do I do with my buggy?
There is a small dedicated buggy park located within the family changing village.  There is also a large buggy park located just outside of the changing village next to Under the Sea Soft Play area which can be used as an overflow.  Pram locks can be hired from reception for £5, which is fully refundable once returned.

How long is the course and lesson duration?
Courses are 10 weeks and the lesson is 30 minutes long.  Adults and children will be asked to start vacating the pool 5 minutes before the end of the lesson and will be encouraged to ask the academy team questions and feedback.  The adult and child can then go directly into the interactive toddler pool for a further 30 minutes of water fun.

Is myfirstswim academy suitable for my child who has a disability?
Yes, absolutely.  Just make us aware if you have any specific requirements at the time of enrolment.

Do adults need to be able to swim?
No.  The pool that myfirstswim academy is ran in is delivered in shallow enough water for adults to stand up in. 

Can I bring my child’s sibling with me?
The lessons are based on one adult to one child.  We offer a crèche facility on weekday mornings between 9.30am – 11.30am.  You can book any pre-school siblings into the crèche whilst you and your child are attending myfirstswim academy.  If you want to complete your lesson with some water fun for all of the family, our crèche team can arrange to bring your child to poolside changed into their swim wear .

Where do we get changed?
Our family changing village is located in reception.  There are a number of changing cubicles with baby change facilities including changing tables and nappy bins.

What should my child wear?
For babies and toddlers that are not potty trained, a swim nappy should be worn.  In addition, a swim costume or baby wetsuit would also be recommended.

Flotation Aids?
Any flotation aids that might be needed will be provided by the Dolphin Centre. Should you wish to use your own, this is fine and there is also a range available to purchase from the retail shop based at reception.

Can my baby swim if they are ill?
Our guidance would always be to keep children at home if they are or have been ill in the last 24 hours and in particular when they have experienced Diarrhoea. 

Can my child swim if they have just eaten?
Ideally you want to give your food some time to settle and digest.  Ideally we would recommend that a minimum of an hour is given before swimming but appreciate this is not as easy as it sounds with little ones.

Are there any on-site bottle warming and microwave facilities to warm milk/baby food?
Yes, both are available within the Bistro on the first floor.  There is also a range of baby and young people’s menu option.

What is the next step in water education after myfirstswim academy?
The pathway from myfirstswim academy would be directly into the Learn to Swim scheme.  This scheme is aimed at children aged 3+.  The Learn to Swim scheme runs 7 days a week and is endorsed by the ASA.  The Learn to Swim pathway has 10 different stages that the children can work towards.

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