Is my kid in the appropriate swimming program?
Written by: Liz Kershaw
Living in South Florida, being in and around water is a way of life for most families. Learning water safety and how to swim are essential skills for our kiddos as well as parents. There are programs in and around Miami that offer swim lessons and other water programs. As a parent you should research which style and format will best fit your swimmer. Liz Kershaw, Head Coach with Hurricane Aquatics, has a few suggestions when looking for the appropriate swim program. Below are four questions to ask or situations to consider when seeking a program that will best fit your needs.
1. Are the instructors background checked and trained?
Teaching swimming is a “hands on” activity at the most basic level. The instructor will be in the water holding and moving your child through various drills and skills. Knowing that thorough training and background screening has been done will give you peace of mind that the person working with your swimmer is a professional.
2. At what age do the different programs start?
a. If you are looking for infant lessons, there is a wide range of options from mommy and me classes, which are bonding experiences and provide the opportunity for mom and baby to get comfortable in the water) to ISR (Infant Survival Recourse), which is an intensive survival based program taught in a one-to-one environment with the instructor.
b. Between ages 3-6 your swimmer may be ready for a more conventional swim lesson. These are typically between 30-45 minutes in length and are offered anywhere from daily to once per week. The right time to start and what to expect from this type of lesson for your kiddo will depend a lot on gross motor development, attention span and your child’s ability to relax in the water and try new skills.
c. Once your kiddo knows how to swim fairly proficiently, there are other swim class options including stroke schools and recreational teams. In these programs swimmers learn all four competitive strokes, as well as turns and dives. These programs typically start with swimmers 6+ and vary greatly in length and expectations.
d. Competitive swim teams will allow swimmers to start somewhere between age 5 and high school; it all depends on the program.
3. Is there a curriculum the instructors follow from lesson to lesson and onto the next level?
You want to be able to measure progress and see that your swimmer is improving. The steps may be very small but seeing a drill/skill sheet is always helpful in measuring progress. It also keeps your swimmer motivated and wanting to come back to the pool for more. The drills/skills will often be disguised as games to make it more fun!
4. Does the program offer group, private or semi-private lessons?
Depending on your child’s learning style, he/she will benefit more from either a group or individual setting. Some pros and cons to consider include:
a. Private lessons – The information is tailored specifically to the needs and progress speed of your swimmer; typically they are the most expensive.
b. Semi-private lessons – Some swimmers are encouraged watching their friends do new things and may be more willing to try more in groups. Having swimmers of different skill levels in the same group can distrupt the flow of the lessons.
c. Group lessons – A well-run group lesson is fun and swimmers want be with their friends. These are also the least expensive of all the lesson types. Cons include limited individual attention as a set lesson plan needs to be followed daily.
Being consistent in any swim program will lead to quicker skill mastery, increased stamina and a safe swimmer. Learning how to swim at any age can be beneficial because it builds self-confidence and assists in developing a strong work ethic; it takes time to learn, refine and master the various skills. Swimming is also a refreshing exercise during the summer heat and can be a launch pad into all kinds of additional experiences including diving, snorkeling, water polo, and surfing, just to name a few.
For more information about Hurricane Aquatics visit hurricaneaquatics.com or contact 305.248.4713