Summer is the ideal time for teaching children to swim either in open waters or at swimming baths.
Emphasis is placed on overcoming a fear of water when teaching children to swim. This is done by teaching pupils to float, dive and generally survive in the water.
At the Niirala swimming baths in Kuopio in central Finland, classes for beginners start at age five.
"Children learn at an early age. Perhaps at first a child is reluctant to put their face in water. But by the end of the course, the same child knows how to swim," says instructor Petra Lonka.
Physical education instructor Harri Turunen has been teaching children to swim since the sixties. In his view, technical training has improved but the secret of success remains the same: to overcome the fear of water with the help of games.
Turunen says that many parents in the sixties were quite overprotective.
"They warned that the head should not be submerged in water. For the instructor, it made life difficult. Today’s parents are much less protective," Turunen adds.
Elementary school pupils receive regular swimming instruction. The aim is to be able to cope in water.
Turunen says cultural differences are one of the challenges facing swimming schools today.
"Those from an Arabic background have their own way while Russian mothers are so overprotective that they question everything," Turunen observes.