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Our Story

After over a decade of serving the Penistone community and surrounding areas,  at Willow Babes (highly recommended swim school to whom I owe so much). We sectioned off my classes in 2022 and rebranded them as Swim Play Academy.  My path since 2008 has been an amazing one and I feel I am brimming with ideas knowledge and experience that I'm excited to share with you all. We put equal emphasis on both swim and play, we feel they go hand in hand and its how children learn best.  Our hand crafted world renowned classes,  are shared with instructors all over the world though Aquatic Roleplay Themes.  Our classes have layers of various methods and types of play (sensory, messy, movement etc) that we will use to not only help our swimmers learn to swim, but enrich them in regards to the Early Year Foundation Principles.  Play forms the cement and foundations to a healthy strong relationship to learning. In addition to this I am holistically trained including RMTi Rhythmic Movements , I am a certified school readiness practitioner and hold levels 1 and 2 with the RMTi this helps me understand struggles your child may face when it comes to movement and learning. We also work closely with with the Swimming Teachers Association though Emma's brand ambassadorship which has lead to opportunities speaking at a national level and tutoring to teach and inspire a new generation of instructors. ​We have such passion for swimming and it is our aim to pass the knowledge of swimming on to your child and create a life long love and respect of the water

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What Makes Us Special?

We are a swim school with a difference.  Our classes have been designed  to take babies from 12 weeks of age though to completing their learn to swim journey.  We also work to help enrich their key movement skills and will work in harmony with their reflex and sensory development.  With Early Year principles in mind we plan and create  our lessons to ensure we are helping give your child the best.  We are proudly a trauma informed and a STA Swim Star Swim School. 


Meet Your Instructors

Emma Holden (Pictured Above)

I have proudly provided swimming classes to the local community since 2008.  Proudly I hold the highest swimming qualification in the UK and speak nationally on the subject for Baby and Preschool Swimming.  I also Tutor Aquatics to others wishing to join the industry. I hold my Level 2 and 3 Baby and Preschool Swim Teaching and Level 2 Certificate in Swim Teaching including Level 2 Disability swim teaching.  My thirst for knowledge in childhood development and wellbeing has led me to develop these creative and  developmentally enriched classes with layer upon layer of educational richness.   I am a RMTi School Readiness Practitioner, a qualified infant massage instructor, sensory and holistically trained with a mass of knowledge and experience in developmental play. I hope my passion and drive in the sector shows in my classes. You can find me teaching Mondays, Tuesdays, Friday and Saturday Mornings.

Jess Hible


After working as a poolside assistant for many years I trained as Swim Instructor in 2021 and haven't looked back.  I love all elements of teaching the children, so much so that I am currently studying for a degree in Early Years Education.  I hold my Level 2 Award in Swim Teaching, Level 2 Baby and Preschool, Level 2 in Disability Swim Teaching.  I have also completed many CPDS and mini courses through Aqua Sensory and Aquatic Roleplay.  I also work for Bubbles and Babbles so some of your children may know me from their younger classes.  You may see me covering Emma's lessons from time to time and will definitely find me on a Friday evening for my usual classes.

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