Monday, January 04, 2010

the culture of swimming lessons

Some months ago we had talked about putting @ in swimming lessons. He's so assured that he can do it by himself that he really won't let us help in the water for more than minute. The problem was that we were anticipating a trip out for visa work and then as the visa work dragged on it took a life of its own. Swimming lessons floated to the background.

We spent a day at the pool with some friends and @ really wanted to swim with the big boy. He borrowed goggles from friends and tried everything the big boy did. He continued to talk about it the next several weeks so for christmas, @ got goggles with swimming lessons tucked inside. We've been talking about swimming lessons since christmas with the idea that after the new year we'd go around to some of the local pools and find out details.

Understand I knew things wouldn't work like traditional summer swimming lessons in the states. I think with that you sign up at the pool. Its so many mornings/ week in the summer. They put the kids in the class based on age and ability. And its a set cost, paid upfront.

There is no real summer here. There is the end of school break in June/July but kids don't take lessons then, they go on holiday. Kids take lessons all during the school year. For all kinds of things. For swim lessons, you go to the pool of your choice (we have 3 within a mile of us) and find out the details of when the swim teacher comes. I checked into 2 different pools. At Royal Family (its the name of the housing complex, we'll come to the funny at another time), you pay the entrance ticket to the pool and then you pay the swim teacher/ month. At SMG Beautiful (translation), its the same deal. But any arrangement for the lesson is made with the instructor, not with the pool.

We decided on SMG Beautiful. They have a better pool for lap swimming, it provides some shade, and its a bit cheaper of entry. We watched a young man give lessons for about 30 minutes. He was kind, got involved with helping child position his body, gave feedback as the child went along. Mostly, he seemed to have a kind happy face. We spoke with him for a while in Local language and found that he was able to respond a bit in english. A definite plus as @'s language is still very basic. And @ will begin swimming lessons next monday afternoon at 3:30. Swimming lessons are always in the afternoon here. Locals would never swim in the middle of the day- too hot, too sunny. Lessons are always after school, normally starting around 3 or 4 and kids will take lesson into the evening hours 7 or 8.

Thus the culture & language lessons of swimming lessons
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