New advice about toddlers in swim lessons

This article came from Parenting Magazine in August 2009.

"A new study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that when kids between 1 and 4 take formal swimming lessons, their risk of drowning decreases significantly. The key word here is "formal"; showing your tot how to paddle around won't protect him. (And, lessons or no, you still need to be vigilant about water safety.)"

Next they list what to look for when sizing up a swim program for a child under 5.
1. A certified Teacher. All our teachers are trained and certified before ever teaching.

2. A positive attitude toward parents. We encourage parents to be involved in lessons when needed and watch to encourage their children. We also love discussing with parents how their child is doing and suggest ways they can help.

3. An ideal teacher-to-child ratio. All our swim lessons are private so your child will get all the focus and attention of the teacher. There is so much wasted time when your child takes group lessons with 4+ students.

4. An emphasis on water safety skills. We pride ourselves on our safety methods! Everything we teach is rooted in safety, ESPECIALLY for those ages 1-4. At that age, we're teaching them survival skills and how to be "water safe." I use quotations because you are NEVER water "safe."

5. Limited use of "floaties." We do not allow floaties or life vests of any kind. If you want to learn to swim, these aids will only hinder your progress. Same goes with masks that cover your nose.


Lesson Pricing

Lessons are billed by the hour at a rate of $60. That hour is yours to use however you want. You can give one child an hour lesson, two children 30 minutes each, or three children 20 minutes each. This gives you the flexibility to arrange lessons that will best suit you and your family. Use the hour for just yourself or find a neighbor or friend to split it with you.

Mention this site for 1 free Safety Swim Lesson when you purchase 12 lessons up front.


Swimming Levels

Levels are broken down into 4 categories: Starfish, Whale, fIsh and Mermaid, spelling out SWIM. Below is a brief description of what each category will focus on.

Level 1: Starfish (Beginner/Non-swimmer)

This level's focus is on getting students comfortable in the water and putting their face in the water. The student is completely dependent on the teacher.

Level 2: Whale (Willing and Able Beginner)

This student is ready to learn and just needs guidance. We emphasize in this level safety through proper breathing, floating and survival skills. They'll practice kicking and gliding from the steps to a teacher. The student is becoming more independent.

Level 3: fIsh (Comfortable Swimmer)

The fIsh is able to swim on his own but will be taught correct styles and form as well as proper breathing if he hasn't been taught previous. In addition to perfecting their freestyle and building on previous skills, here they will also learn backstroke and elementary backstroke.

Level 4: Mermaid (Proficient Swimmer)

This level will perfect freestyle, backstroke and elementary backstroke and introduce breaststroke, sidestroke, butterfly and flip turns. Students will also work on their endurance on all strokes.


"Outstanding Swim Instructor of the Year" Award, 2004

The award of Outstanding Swim Instructor of the Year is given annually by the United States Swim School Association, formerly the National Swim School Association. The winners are selected for their commitment and dedication to the profession of swim teaching and have shown outstanding performance.

"Lorianne's talent and dedication to teaching youngsters the life skill of swimming positively impacts hundreds of families in the Santa Clarita area," said Scott Bartle, National Swim School executive director.


How to Have a Successful Lesson

1. Goggles are fine as long as the child is not completely dependent on them. Masks should never be allowed; it prevents the child from learning how to correctly breathe underwater.
2. When kids are first learning, they may be uncomfortable with getting their face wet. Don’t let them use a towel to dry their eyes, ears or mouth. This only encourages them to continue to be uncomfortable.
3. Be sure to have long hair tied back so it doesn’t get in the way and distract from the lesson.
4. Younger kids are easily distracted. If this is the case for your child, please keep younger/older siblings at a distance.
5. If a child doesn't want to go with the teacher and you don't want to get in the pool, it's best if you hide in a place where you can see but can't be seen. If Mom's by the pool, who wants the teacher! If you're gone, they're more likely to focus and accept their teacher.
6. And most importantly, teach your kids to have fun with swimming! If you're enthusiastic and excited about lessons, chances are they will be to. Kids will mirror your attitude so make it a good one.