Baby Lessons


Baby Swimming Lessons

Shirley Pool is a purpose built, two pool, teaching centre. The learner pool is 33 degrees. That means babies as young as 6 weeks stay warm during the lesson. There is no public gallery and the ladies changing room is a few feet from the pools, so just wrap baby in towelling and they will be snug until you reach the warm showers after the lesson.

It’s never too early for your baby to learn to swim. Early lessons lay the foundations for lifelong enjoyment of the water.

In a shallow, secluded pool, friendly, qualified and experienced  teachers will guide you in how to confidently handle your child through their first stages in the water, using song and constructive play. It’s easy to learn when you are having fun and that’s what these lessons are based upon.

Back in the 1974, when Shirley Pool began teaching baby and toddler swimming, it was quite revolutionary. Australian and South African teachers visited to share their unique baby swimming methods. (Press cuttings are here)

One of the original Shirley Pool founders, Val Perry, became a leading light in her field, introducing thousands of babies to the joy of swimming. These traditions live on through today’s lovely staff. Combined with a modern teaching plan and a purpose built teaching centre, you can feel secure that your child will be in safe hands.

All first-timers are offered a Free Trial Session to make sure that you are happy with our service. Just contact our reception team, they’ll need to take some details down and book your trial session. If you still wish to sign up for lessons, please go back round to reception after your lesson to complete your membership application, and make payment for your first month.

All our Parent & Child members are entitled to free access to our Baby Splash sessions, if you’d like to bring your partner as well, they would just need to pay the public swim rate.

Lessons take place at varied times,  seven days a week. Check for availability

When your child is old enough, they can progress to toddler lessons. Continuing in the small pool, in lessons of no more than 6, a qualified teacher will help your child with the first steps of learning to swim on their own.

There is a clear path of development from baby lessons to butterfly, structured lessons that will give your child the opportunity to be a swimmer for life.

Take a deeper look at our video of lesson programs and hear what the teachers think.

Read reviews from other customers

Underwater Photography

The babies and toddlers have an opportunity to join an underwater photography session for the chance to secure a unique portrait.

Each child in these lessons will have the opportunity to be submerged and have their photograph taken, assuming they have had sufficient practice.

Photos will then be uploaded to a website and you will have access to choose and order if you wish. You are under no obligation to buy and there is no extra charge for this service.


Water babies at Shirley Pool

Baby Swimming Boom at Shirley Swimming Pool – First printed in the Daily Echo

It is the moment every mothers heart misses a beat. The baby goes under the water for the first time – and comes up smiling!

In the hands of a professional teacher introducing a baby to water during a lesson is a momentous time for parents and now a pool in Southampton has been recognized as a leader in field of baby Tuition.

Tucked away in Shirley, the Kentish Road Pool has been introducing babies and toddlers to water for over thirty years and has introduced a scheme to help young parents over come their fear of water.

Huggies Baby Friendly Pools has given their stamp of approval to the pool for its extensive teaching programme and conscientious approach to health and safety.

Our Advice

“ It is crucial that children start as young as possible in an environment that is warm and safe”, says Shirley Pool’s head baby teacher, “ Everyday you hear of toddlers falling into ponds or streams and drownings are so avoidable if children start young. It is all too easy to pass on your own fear of water”

The thirty minute lessons aim to teach the parents how to handle babies and introduce them to the pleasures of the water. Through nursery rhyme and play, confidence is built until toddlers are able to attend lessons without a parent at two and a half years.

Shirley Pool offers parents & baby a free trial lesson, giving the opportunity to test the logistics of travelling to the pool, changing, getting into the pool and making sure baby enjoys the lesson.

Classes take place every morning during the week all year round. Pool manager Luke Perry ” The time of year that you start does not really matter – it is always hot in our baby pool even at Christmas ! It is 33 degrees all year ”

A detailed list of available times is displayed on the right as a download. Find a slot that fits then call the pool to reserve a place. Complete the direct debit form, also listed on the right, in full and bring it with you. Depending on timing, you would normally need to pay for the first few weeks by card or cash before the direct debit starts.

Parent and Baby Gallery


Free baby & Parent lessons