Swimming Lessons in and around Ballina

I have tried three different places for swimming lessons in the area, and BallinaGirl has attended all three. For her, I found they differed and had positives depending on age, her swimming ability, and her developing personality.

Lennox Aquatic Centre ( 128 Newrybar Swamp Road, Lennox. Head )
They have a great set up for babies and young toddlers. BallinaGirl attended when she was a baby, and again when she was a toddler. It was really good when she was a baby, but we couldn’t afford to continue the lessons. They have a small pool that is extra warm so they stay comfortable the whole lesson and don’t get a rude shock with the water temperature (which can affect their relationship with the water). They do a similar pattern each week for learning, with lots of songs and “actions”. I would highly recommend this one for parents with babies. From their website, they start from 3 months old.

Ballina Swim N Gym (behind the cinema at Ballina Fair)
This is Ballina’s only indoor pools. We tried this when BallinaGirl was younger, but found the water to be too cold for our liking (although was fine for my aqua classes I did during pregnancy). We went back again for an Intensive Swim Program for the kids over the school holidays to help catch them up, and they were pretty cold by the end still. BallinaBoy particularly complained of the cold, although the air within the pool are was quite warm. It was quite good that the pool was a bit deeper than what they usually learn in, so were able to practice swimming without the ability to stand easily in the water, which was a plus, although BallinaGirl spent most of the lesson swimming around the platform in the water than actually paying attention to what was going on. These classes seemed to be the cheapest of all.

Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre ( 50 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah )
Attending the swimming lessons at this pool were the best solution for us. Although I preferred the baby swimming lessons at Lennox, BallinaGirl loved the swimming lessons here (started about 2.5years old). They have games, she loved her teacher, and after a few lessons, was quite happy to go off with the teacher without us being in the class also. It also helps that the pools are a lot of fun to play at afterwards, with a dedicated toddler pool and slide, as well as the main pool having a slope to walk in to (similar to a beach) with access to the pool toys they use during their lesson to practice with in the shallows. She has wanted to stay there all day, she loves it so much there, we’ve had 3 of her birthdays there!
The travel time does make it a bit of a drawback, so I try to arrange for anything that might have to happen over that way to coincide with the swimming lessons.
As for BallinaBoy, he is still a bit on the fence with the lessons here, I think in part because of the timing of the lessons we had, as well as him not being confident in the water, nor away from me. I am contemplating trying him in the Lennox ones this semester instead, or as well as.
GSAC has also won awards for their swim school, swimsations, at a National level, which is pretty impressive.

Contact details for the pools are as follows:
Ballina Swim N Gym – (02) 6686 8299
Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre – (02) 6625 5370
Lennox Aquatic Centre – (02) 66 878 800 (or Tricia who runs the lessons on 0404156195)

Update: I have had a few friends attend and/or enrolled and waiting to attend swimming lessons in Bangalow. The pool looks like it has an amazing outlook, looking out over the Byron hinterland (a friend posted a photo of her child there which made me want to know more!) and is run as a private business. For more information here is their website and you can contact them on (02) 6687 2911. They have water babies classes through to stroke correction classes for older children. They also offer swim intensive programmes during the school holidays.

Babywearing Meet at MacLeans Ridge

Had a meet at a local mum’s house yesterday, with some of the mum’s from her mother’s group and, the always delightful, Kate (and her two gorgeous girls).

I took all the carriers I had with me, and was feeling a bit nervous about being asked about back carries, as, even though I do do them, I don’t really feel as though how I do it is a good example. Luckily, being mums new to babywearing, they were only interested in the “easy” ones, so only tried on my Mei Tais and Ring Slings. The winner seemed to be the DidyTai, which I lent to one of the mums, as she was packing to move to Melbourne over the weekend. I lent another mum my Close Carrier, as her bub was still little, and the Close Carrier (now called Caboo by Close Parent) is, in my opinion, the hands down best newborn carrier you can get (for a person new to babywearing anyway)!

20130208-132851.jpg

After they left, Kate and Georgie raided the rest of my stash, trying different ring slings and feeling different wraps. We discussed shorties, and I whipped out the size 2 Double Rainbow I have temporarily traded (for my size 5 Easycare #01) to show them how you could squeeze out a double hammock tied rebozo with it (only thing I have “mastered” with it so far).

Kate had a long journey ahead of her, so head off with her precious cargo, hoping for a better road trip home than she had coming down. And Georgie and I looked at hip carries on YouTube to see if she could start using her wrap more, until I had to leave to collect BallinaGirl. (We tried Leigh’s Robyn’s Carry, and the “Coolest Hip Carry”, which I wore BallinaBoy in to pack up and get going)

I have been speaking to Mel from Beetlebums, who is an advocate for KangaCollective and all things babywearing, and am hopefully going to be able to take part in a course so I will be “certified” to instruct on certain carries. Very exciting for the Northern Rivers Babywearers community and the new mums looking for help.

The next meet for Northern Rivers Babywearers will be held at a house in North Ocean Shores. Contact me, or join our Facebook group for more details.

P.S. I also made some delicious raw chocolate for the get together.. But BallinaBoy slobbers on them, so I had to have most of them.. What a pity 😛

20130208-143237.jpg

Note: Kanga Collective seems to be down at this current time, but here is a little blurb about them taken from Nurture Magazine:
“Kanga Collective
Contact Email: mel@beetlebums.com.au
Website: http://www.kangacollective.com
Details:
Kanga Collective is an all inclusive community, many people with many beliefs, and one directive. Wearing our babies will change the world.
We embrace and wholeheartedly believe that baby-wearing is more than just a mode of transport. It's a parenting tool. 'Time in' rather than 'Time out'.
Our vision is to make baby wearing mainstream via community support and education. We're passionate, committed and excited about baby wearing and our flourishing collective."

Our Saturdays at Goonellabah Gym & Aquatic Centre

20130208-121237.jpg

Our Saturday mornings are now filled with swimming lessons! For both of my littlies. BallinaDaddy does both the lessons with them, while I mind the other one. BallinaGirl really wanted to have her lesson first, with her little brother, and was a bit tired by the time her lesson rolled around, not to mention unfocused, as she had been going down the water slide with her dad just before her lesson started.

The kids loved our morning there, but it seems to take over our weekend. If nothing is planned, it is a great way to kick off the weekend. But committing to Saturday morning may mean there will be no camping trips for a while.