Baby and toddler swimming firm makes a splash to win award for its teaching programme

May 3, 2019

Turtle Tots, the baby and toddler swimming licensing company based in Backwell, has become the first UK swim school to receive a prestigious award for its pioneering teaching programmes.

The firm, set up in 2011 by Caroline Sparks with Gaby Lixton through a shared passion for baby swimming, has been named among the best in family-friendly educational services by the Mom’s Choice Awards (MCA).

Turtle Tots’ baby swimming programme was rigorously evaluated by a panel of independent MCA evaluators, who deemed the unique educational programme to be among the best for families.

The evaluation process uses a propriety methodology in which services and products are scored on a number of elements including quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal, and cost.

Turtle Tots co-founder Caroline Sparks said she was thrilled the programme had earned an international Excellence Seal of Approval from the Mom’s Choice Awards.

Eight years after its launch it has more than 50 licensees across the UK and Ireland, and 200 swimming teachers delivering its programme.

Caroline said: “It not only validates the educational value of the programme, but it is also serves as an endorsement of all the benefits and joy our teaching methods give to thousands of parents, carers and our 13,000 little turtles each week.”

Mom’s Choice Awards executive director Dawn Matheson added: “Our aim is to introduce families and educators to best-in-class products and services, like Turtle Tots. Parents and educators know that products and services bearing our seal of approval are high-quality and also have a great value.

“The MCA evaluation program is designed to incorporate the expertise of scientists, physicians and other specialists; but we also engage parents, children, educators, and caregivers because they are experts in knowing what is best for their families.”

The Turtle Tots swimming programme begins from birth, or as soon as the parent is ready to bring their baby into the pool, with specialised and progressive lessons, teaching babies water confidence and building the first steps towards swimming unaided, and a lifelong love of the water.

In 2017 the internationally recognised Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) launched a new qualification called the Level 3 Diploma in Baby & Pre School Teaching. This qualification is for experienced swimming teachers and expands their knowledge by providing them with evidence from research carried out over the past two decades into child psychology and neuroscience, which has led to changing theories of how children learn.

As a result of this new qualification and knowledge, Turtle Tots re-wrote its baby swimming programme, to be even more baby-led, with more focus on reading each baby’s cues, and communication to ensure that babies are active and willing participants in everything they do.

Not only are Turtle Tots teachers as qualified as they possibly can be in terms of teaching the Turtle Tots programme, they are also trained to understand more about how babies communicate in the pre-verbal period, their early brain development, the importance of early attachment and how best to support babies’ learning in this critical early part of life.

Pictured: Turtle Tots founders Caroline Sparks, left, and Gaby Lixton



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