UCB Parents Advice about Playing

What to Look for in a Swim Class

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  • Infant Swimming
  • Recommendations for Swimming Classes
    Advice about Toddler's Fear of Water
    I was also surprised at the high cost of swim lessons at Strawberry Canyon
    Pool and decided not to have my son take any there.  As an experienced
    lifeguard-swim instructor (although I have been away from it for a few  
    years) I would recommend the following:
    - for parent-child classes, the quality of instruction isn't all that
    important in my view, as long as you have an instructor who is supportive
    and gentle (for example, it's not a good idea to have someone else hold
    your child if s/he has any insecurity about the water at that age-under
    three years).  So you can probably settle for a less expensive package,
    since you will be holding your child and this class is strictly for
    creating comfort with the water (the most important factor of all),
    - look into the quality of instruction as it relates to price in toddler
    classes and levels above. If the program is good, the price might be worth
    Some suggestions on how to gauge the quality of a program:
    - find out what is the certification of the instructor (not the person
    overseeing him/her). Does he/she hold official Red Cross certification in:
    lifeguard training, WSI (Water Safety Instructor) First Aid, and Community
    - how long has s/he taught?
    - what is the level of maturity and responsibility of the instructor
    (enthusiatic teenagers can be a lot of fun, but do they know how to deal
    with kids besides hyping them up?)?  This is a very personal matter.
    Talking to the tentative instructor (not his/her supervisor) can be a good
    Other places to look for programs:
    Contact cities in the area.  For example, Albany has less expensive
    options.  Also look into the YMCA's.
    Final note:
    My own Red Cross instructors have always vehemently told me to never
    guarantee any results, especially in terms of "drownproofing" a child, or
    pretending to teach the child any real swimming before the age of six (of
    course, results vary and some kids will learn very early).  I have taught a
    child who had previously been through the type of private program that
    makes such claims.  He felt very confident in the water and could easily
    squiggle about on his own, but I am still partial to a more progressive,
    graded, and collective (for some kids, this is their first structured
    activity with others their own age) approach.

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    The opinions and statements expressed on this page are those of parents who belong to the UC Berkeley Parents Network and should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the University of California, Berkeley.
    Last modified July 5, 1998