My kids have taken swim lessons many ways over the years and from varied instructors.
When they were little I did private lessons with a certified swim instructor that lived in our neighborhood. She did a great job “tricking” them into swimming while they thought they were playing. She was a mom so she was good with the kids and always showed up. Although she was more expensive than what the YMCA was charging for a group lesson I felt like each child was getting very individual attention and the instructor was spending those 30 minutes completely concentrating on my child.
As they got older I tried some group lessons at the Y. The first round was more successful than the second round.
At that point Rose was a very good swimmer and the group lessons were good for her. For a while she was the only girl in the class and was very small compared to the boys but she was kicking their butts swimming laps. And she really liked that. So I think at that point the group setting was good to motivate her. It gave her some competition. (Sort of like swim team practices.)
Walsh’s first class was with the sweetest 17-year-old girl instructor. She was great with the kids and just loved Walsh. She had a handle on the group, which wasn’t too large, and he was willing to do things for her because he liked her so much.
The second session, Walsh was still learning and was put in a class that was under his ability. He was between the two levels. The instructor was a teenager who was not as good working with the kids and they gave her too big of a group. They spent half the time sitting on the wall and very little time actually swimming. I noticed the class after ours had half the kids and asked to switch. They let us and the rest of the session went much better.
Lilina took a baby class and didn’t accomplish much. It was more about getting them used to being in the pool but she was ready to do more.
This week we are starting classes at the Y but I am doing it differently yet again. The Y is offering semi-private lessons for 2 kids, four classes for $55. What a deal!! So I am doing Rose and Walsh together. What I am looking for at this point is for the instructor to correct their strokes and work on his rotary breathing so they’ll have that fresh in their minds and they can practice correctly the rest of the summer.
Lilina is going to take four private lessons, which are more expensive. She can swim but she needs to build confidence taking breaths while swimming and is ready to start doing a more formal stroke. She is instinctively pulling her arms out of the water and seems to be ready to learn freestyle. I’m not sure how to transition her into that type of swimming so I feel like I need a trained instructor.
I think group lessons are better for kids who have a basic grasp on how to swim because they can practice. The instructor can let them all go in the water so you’re not wasting time with kids holding on to the wall and taking turns.
I also think the size of the group and the instructor makes a huge difference in how successful the lessons are.
Do you like group lessons, private, semi-private? Do you only use adult teachers or are you fine with teenagers? Do you swim team in the summer as swim lessons and practice? Is it too much or good to get them going? Do you like a certain organization to teach the lessons?
– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania. Follow me on Twitter (ajcMomania) and read what I am reading each day. Great stories on family health, family fun, parenting, fashion, stars, and more. )