You wouldn’t I think that swimming hats would cause so much angst. Many swimming lessons base their classes on a hat colour and each time the child moves up up the hat colour changes. However in our swimming classes they only have two lessons in the pool at once and children can wear whatever swimming hat they want. Or they could until this term.

We missed the first week of this term but evidently there was a new rule brought in. Evidently based on keeping children safe in the right ends of the pool so that the staff and lifeguards know which end the children should be in. Now they have moved to specific colours for specific classes.

And children aren’t happy.

Because this means wearing horrible huge rubber hats provided by the swimming provider.

We missed the first week so haven’t actually been told what the conversation was about wearing these hats. But N turned up week 2 in his blue hat and was told that he can just use his own hat as it’s the correct colour for his stage.

Evidently after week one with no warning there were a lot of unhappy children and parents when they previously had been told they can wear whichever hats. This makes more sense because children’s heads are all different. A lot of children have fabric hats so they are easier to put on and off and more comfortable for the children. We opted for silicon because it lasts longer than the rubber and is a lot more stretchy, but also attempts to keep a little bit of water out compared to the fabric ones where hair gets totally wet.

So after this, the swim hat rule has been relaxed so that if the child’s hat colour is correct for their swimming stage then they can use their own hat. Hence N and his friend in the class above were able to continue using their own.

N wasn’t impressed when he heard about the changing hat colours, pointing out that is not very sustainable and a waste of money to be changing hats each lesson stage. If your child moving up every two terms that’s a lot of hats you might have to go through for no reason.

N probably won’t go past the class that he’s on already as he’s in stage 6. Although with the swimming cap change, we’ve now found out it’s actually a stage 6 and 7 group. The children have different hat colours depending on which stage they’re in in his class. He’s already said that there’s no way he’s going to wear a purple hat when it gets to stage 7 but I don’t know whether he will stick it out until next school year anyway. (it’s a bit frustrating for him though, as 2 kids who’ve just moved across from another teacher’s stage 6 when they moved to stage 7, aren’t as strong swimmers as him but he’s still only a stage 6. The inconsistency between instructors at play where our teacher expects a higher technical proficiency).

Obviously it’s nice that the school are providing the kids swimming hats rather than parents having to buy them. But children can be pernickety. Plus you want to make sure they are the most comfortable they can be and not distracted by what they’re wearing on their heads. So I’m pleased that we can at least choose to wear our own hats if they are the right colour. A total fluke that N’s ended up being the correct colour.

There is one good side apart from the safety aspect. I think safety is a strange reason given that children can only go in the other end of the pool when they’re with their class teacher and and it’s not really until stage 4 where the child might end up going down to the deep end. The only occasion where it would get confusing is during fun swim where the older children ask to go in the deep end. For fun swim they don’t make children wear hats anyway so they’re still not going to be able to tell the difference on a safety aspect.

There is one great point. It does mean that with everyone now having to wear a hat that all children will. N has always been peeved in the past that when they brought in wearing hats a couple of years ago, there are still some classes where children don’t seem to wear them. Which considering they say children can’t swim without one is frustrating for those children who do. So providing hats and making all children wear one is is much for fairer for all.

Of course putting the same colour swim hat on everyone in the class is going to be interesting for the poor teachers, remembering names especially when they have identical twins in the class.

How do your swimming lessons work with hats and stages?

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