Water Babies Classes Launch in Kilkenny

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St Patrick’s School & Ormonde Hotel

Water Babies, Ireland’s leading baby swim school which teaches swimming to over 1,600 babies and toddlers in Ireland every week, is delighted to announce that it is bringing Water Babies classes to Kilkenny so that babies as young as just a few weeks old, will be able to take part in the unique swimming classes.

Elaine and George Dunne will commence a 10 week courses of Water Babies classes in Kilkenny on 8 May 2012. Parents are invited to bring babies (under 12 months) to experience a FREE Water Babies ‘Taster Class’ in St Patrick’s Centre, Kilkenny on 24 April & 1 May and in the Ormonde Hotel, Kilkenny on 24 April & 1 May. To a reserve a place for your baby at a FREE Water Babies Taster class, please call Elaine on 051-397444.

Elaine Dunne was first introduced to Water Babies while pregnant by friend and Waterpolo team mate Therese McNally, who set up the first ever Water Babies franchise in Ireland three years ago. “From the minute I watched the Water Babies DVD, I was hooked,” she says, “and I knew straight away that this was what I wanted to do.”

Elaine qualified as a Water Babies instructor as soon as she could, after giving birth to her fourth child, and has been teaching for 18 months in Dublin before setting up her own classes in the South East. As well as having completed her nationally accredited in-house training including STA baby and pre-school award, Elaine is a fully qualified Swim Ireland swimming teacher and holds a registered Irish Water Safety Lifeguard award, including infant specialisation.

Elaine and George both agree that the best thing about Water Babies is progression! ‘Watching tiny babies just starting out on their swimming journey, to when they’re toddlers and able to do amazing things, is just fantastic,’ Elaine beams. ‘And as a swimmer,’ George adds, ‘the structure that Water Babies brings is just great.’

The Water Babies programme, which is designed to make the most of babies’ natural affinity with water, teaches confidence and safety, using specialist techniques that see many swimming short distances from as young as 30 months. Baby swimming is an entirely safe and gentle activity which helps parents bond with their baby while giving them a lifetime’s water confidence and safety skills. Swimming from birth stimulates the brain and develops muscles in a safe, relaxed way and water is a familiar environment that babies love.

The Water Babies swimming course is very different to traditional swimming lessons. Because Water Babies only use warm water pools (30° or above) babies can join classes from birth. And while the emphasis is on having fun, the course is carefully structured, with progressive lesson plans for each week.

Water Babies’ unique methods help babies to feel at ease, swimming both above and below the water, and they’ll love the sensation of floating in such a warm, calm atmosphere. Babies have natural reflexes that mean they instinctively hold their breath when submerged. However, the Water Babies course teaches babies to control their breathing instead of relying on reflexes, thus negating the risk of water inhalation and giving the babies a sense of being fully in control.

Water Babies teaches children to save themselves from drowning. And remarkably, 10 Water Babies’ children have done just that within the past three years alone. The highly sociable lessons encourage parents to make new friends. The confidence both parents and babies gain in the water will often increase their sense of confidence on land and the stimulation of a completely different environment will see a child thrive.

In addition to the more serious safety skills, another key focus of the half-hour sessions is enhancing parent/carer and baby bonding and generally having great fun together. “We try hard to create a really sociable, energetic atmosphere” explains Elaine, “and often classes turn into a full morning social, where the after-swim coffee and conversation are as eagerly anticipated as the lessons themselves. With research showing that new mothers are less likely to suffer from post natal depression if they can gain support from their peers, that’s another reason why we’re very proud of what we do.” she added.

Despite their gentle nature, Water Babies sessions provide a complete physical work-out. Studies have also shown that participating babies have improved sleeping and eating patterns, flourishing with the focused attention they receive. “From a developmental point of view, the earlier babies start exercising, the better,” George explains. “The brain grows most rapidly during the first year of a baby’s life and regular exercise plays a vital role. When you consider that every movement they make has a direct impact on strengthening the brain for new learning, you can see how swimming, without the constraints of gravity, is so effective. It’s also very special in that it’s the only structured activity you can do with your newborn literally from birth.”

The core Water Babies programme lasts one year and is divided into four 10-week terms. Each of the 40 lesson plans is carefully worked out to progress learning and understanding. However, fun is also a key element of the Water Babies’ lessons. And overall, the aim is to provide an enjoyable and stimulating activity for both parent and child.

To find out more about Water Babies swimming lessons in Kilkenny, please visit www.waterbabies.ie

For further information, images or interviews, please contact:

Nicola Watkins Public Relations 087-2646858 nicola@nicolawatkinspr.com

About Elaine & George Dunne

Husband and wife team, Elaine and George Dunne practically grew up in the water and now spend most of their waking hours in it too! Elaine and George both played Water Polo internationally for Ireland and have swam competitively in Open Sea Swimming and the annual Liffey Swim. Elaine won the Liffey Swim 1995 and George holds the record for the fastest Dublin Bay Swim crossing from Red Rock in Sutton to Dun Laoghaire. He completed the 8.8k open water swim in 2004 in just 2 hours and 15 mins. And now their four children Sean (12), Jennifer (10), Ciaran (8) and Lee (2 ½) are following in their watery footsteps by playing Water Polo competitively.

Elaine was first introduced to Water Babies while pregnant and qualified as a Water Babies instructor as soon as she could after giving birth to Lee, her fourth child. As well as having completed her nationally accredited in-house training including STA baby and pre-school award, Elaine is a fully qualified Swim Ireland swimming teacher and holds a registered Irish Water Safety Lifeguard award, including infant specialisation. Elaine is personally insured through the STA and the company has full corporate insurance.

The Dunne family are no strangers to the South East , George & Elaine have had a home in Fethard-on-Sea in Wexford since 2001so are already a part of the community. George is starting his Water Babies instructors course in June and will be joining Elaine in the pool just as soon as he gets his Water Babies wings – they can’t wait to bring the joys of Water Babies to the South East!


Kilkenny, Tuesday 24th April & 1st May

St Patrick Centre, 10am & 10.30am

Ormonde Hotel @ 1.30pm & 2pm


Water Babies Course (10 Weeks)

Kilkenny, Tuesday (8 May – 10 July)

St Patrick School, Kells Road 10am & 10.30am

Ormonde Hotel @ 1.30pm & 2pm

About Water Babies

Water Babies is the world’s largest baby swim school, teaching more than 28,000 babies each week through a growing network of family businesses across the UK, Ireland and Sydney, Australia.

Having fun and enjoying the water is our primary aim – we never want our Water Babies to actually feel like they’re in a lesson. Most will happily be swimming distances underwater by about 30 months, then naturally start swimming on the surface as their strength increases.

In the last four years, Water Babies has won five national awards in the UK: Best Swimming Class, Best Baby Development Activity, and Best Baby & Toddler Development Activity 2010 and 2011 with What’s On 4 Little Ones’; and Best Children’s Activity with Tommy’s.

In 2011, Water Babies raised over €44,000 for Temple Street Hospital. This means that Water Babies reached our goal to purchase a new incubator for St Michael’s B baby ward in Temple Street.

The core points of difference between Water Babies classes and mainstream baby swimming lessons are:

  • Water Babies teach babies from birth. Two days was our youngest client, but normally they start at around six weeks
  • The course is highly structured, including clear progression, aims and objectives and a detailed lesson plan for each of the 40 weeks
  • We teach without the use floatation devices. This is in order to prevent children developing a false sense of security and because the water naturally supports their body weight
  • Children lack the strength or co-ordination to swim on the surface until at least two years. From birth we enable them to swim short distances underneath, allowing them to move freely without constraints of gravity
  • Being totally happy underwater creates a complete sense of confidence when on the surface
  • All Water Babies instructors must first complete their full mainstream swimming qualifications with either Swim Ireland or Irish Water Safety before commencing the intensive 25 days Water Babies training course. All instructors must also be qualified lifesavers, renewed bi-annually and be Garda vetted.
  • Water Babies is the only swim company to have its own in-house, award-winning underwater baby photography unit. Last year, Water Babies took more than 73,000 individual shots

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