I went to visit my sister today and happened upon her in the swimming pool, waiting patiently while her little four year old started her first swimming lessons.
It's a must, here in Holland. Swimming lessons. Given at terrible times, like early mornings before school, or just around dinner time. Mothers hanging patiently around in the damp rooms, exchanging gossip, all hoping their kids will finally achieve their A, B and C swimming diplomas.
For a long long time it was common for the schools to supply swimming lessons. Which meant whole classes getting into a bus, driving to the nearest pool for maybe half an hour of lessons, and then on the bus back. Very inconveniënt, expensive, and often times unneccesary because lots of kids already had earned their diploma's in their own time.
When our son was little the waiting list at the local pool was so long that we had to go to another one. This meant a half hour bike ride, either with our son on the back of the bicycle, or him biking himself with us pushing him along. We didn't have a car at that time.
In my memory it was always wet on this particular bike ride, and the wind was always blowing against us.
We were very very happy to stop the swimming lessons after the first diploma was received.
For our daughter, we did even better. After her swimming techniques became worse rather than better due to a teacher she didn't get along with, we simply stopped the lessons and let her swim without her diploma. She kept her head above water, that was the most important!
Believe me though, many a dutch person would be shocked if we told them this was how we handled it!