Questions to Ask When Choosing a Swim School
● By Digital Media Director
By: SafeSplash Swim School
Swimming is a life skill and learning to swim helps to keep children safe in the water while opening a world of possibilities: pool parties, sailing, snorkeling, playing in the ocean. Swimming also builds strength and coordination, while group lessons contribute to improved social skills and growing confidence in children. Swimming is perhaps the most accessible sport for individuals with additional needs, and most parents agree on the importance of providing swim lessons for their child.
A swim school provides a safe and professional space for children to learn how to swim or to improve their swimming ability, but not all swim schools are created equal. Here are some questions to ask when choosing a swim school:
1. What is the teaching philosophy? Determine if the school has a proven curriculum that logically follows a methodical progression of skills. A good curriculum will take every student from their point of entry to a greater knowledge of all four strokes and will teach them valuable safety skills. Dedicated swim schools often offer a more focused program with detailed skill progression steps evolved from working with millions of swimming students than a location that offers a multitude of activities.
2. Does the school have a program for your child’s age and ability? Look for a wide breadth of classes, encompassing a range from parent – tot and beginner levels to advanced, or swim team prep. A broad range of available classes will also be able to match your student with others at the same level and close to the same age. Ideally the school can also provide classes for those students with special needs.
3. Is the school safe and sanitary? Determine if the instructors have CPR certification and if a lifeguard is on duty at the pool. The pool should have advanced filtration and sanitation systems to keep the water clean while minimizing chlorine levels, and the curriculum should teach water safety skills.
4. Are instructors carefully selected and trained? Engaging kids and creating an enjoyable experience is critical for young kids to learn. Instructors should have experience in the sport of swimming as well as a background in working with children. The school should provide instructor training related to their curriculum and skill progression. Additionally, they should provide ongoing training and education for their staff.
5. What do other parents say about the school? Review online forums and websites to see what comments have been made about the school and talk to parents in your community about their experience. In addition to asking the questions above, parents may want to consider travel time to the school and whether or not it has flexible scheduling and rolling start dates.
6. How are parents informed of their swimmer’s progress? Do the instructors keep parents up-to-date on what skills have been learned, what goals they have for the class, what skills their child needs to practice, and when the swimmer may need to move up to the next level? These updates may be provided in a periodic show-and-tell lesson (or portion of a lesson), or by making instructor notes available to parents.
7. Does the school make lessons fun and is it an engaging place? For young swimmers, warm water pools make for more productive lessons - if the water is too cold children can’t focus on learning. Class sizes should be small, and instructors should be able to keep their eyes on, and interact with every child during the class. Instructors should also celebrate student successes and integrate fun with learning how to swim.
A swim school should be a safe, inviting place for children to learn the life skill of swimming while having fun and gaining confidence.