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Sherman Swim School (Lafayette, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Places to Go > Sherman Swim School (Lafayette, CA)



August 2011

I saw a post from a mom whose 4-year-old had a bad experience with another swim school, who needed a warmer and more supportive environment. I wanted to recommend Sherman Swim School in Lafayette to her. We have gone off and on (for older and younger child) for the past 5 years. The Sherman family has owned the school for the past 50 years, and Steve Sherman is usually on site and you can talk to him easily. Parents can sit on the deck at picnic tables or in comfy deck chairs. The instructors are friendly, skilled at teaching, and work hard during every lesson. But, they do not offer group lessons, and private swim lessons are expensive. www.shermanswim.com anon


March 2010

Re: Swimming for almost 2 year old

You're lucky -- Sherman Swim, which is in Lafayette where you live, is the perfect place -- shallow warm pools, excellent instructors. We have gone there (over the hill from Oakland) for about 4 summers, with my now 7-year-old, and last year my just-turned-3 year old started. She is asking when summer is coming so she can swim again (they do have spring classes, we just only swim in the summer) They have a web site you can google. They are not inexpensive, however, although it is a great experience. anon


Try Sherman Swim School in Lafayette (www.shermanswim.com) Not cheap, but very good. My guy started there at 3.5, but they teach kids as young as 9 months.
May 2009

I would appreciate up-to-date feedback about the Sherman Swim School in Lafayette. Our 5 year-old loves the water when she is in the pool with us and wears her floaties. But she had a negative first experience with swim lessons last summer at Mills. We would like her to take private lessons with an experienced instructor who is gentle yet firm and can work with our daughter about overcoming her fear of putting her head in the water. Thanks! Swim Mom-To-Be


Sherman Swim School is a great place to have your child learn to swim. The instructors are all great, patient, and well-trained. It is a bit pricey but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for and my son has done well there. The classes are 15 min. long which may seem like nothing but quite a lot gets accomplished since it's one-on-one and 3 days/week. You can also try Harriet Plumber swim school (Lafayette too). Same pricing and philosophy but year round vs. spring-autumn for Sherman. Martha
I don't know of that school but my son has been at Harrier Plummer Academy in Lafayette for the past year and has worked with all of the teachers. It is great! They are all so supportive and encouraging. I have seen them work with kids at all levels and some with fears and the kids always come out feeling proud. I can't say enough about this place. Sevgi
Sherman Swim School is great! Our then-3.5 year old attended 3 sessions last summer and went from being terrified to even get in to the pool (it took us 45 minutes before he'd get in our neighborhood pool the weekend before his lessons started), to going underwater, blowing bubbles, and dog-paddling. We've signed him up for 2 sessions for this summer, and may add one more. Sherman is rather pricy (as I'm sure you know), but the classes are individual, just the right length, and really worked for us! Most of the teachers seem to be college-age, but the ones we had (and others we observed) were great.
I put both of my kids through swim lessons at Sherman and it was great. Both of them took lessons there for 2 summers and are now swimmers. My 8 year old son is now on swim team and my 5 year old daughter is joining pre swim team this year. It is a bit pricey, but worth it in the end, in my opinion. We had my son in group swim lessons elsewhere before we found Sherman swim school. The teacher would ask him to put his face in the water, he would say, ''No thank you'' and they wouldn't work with him beyond that. At Sherman, the expectation is that the kids will immerse and somehow the teachers make it fun. The Shermans are in the pool and there are also teen teachers. We have had lessons with both the adults and teens -- the teens are very well trained and equally effective. The pool is small and there is a sun shade over it. It is an intimate setting, and there are maybe 4 private lessons going on at once. It works nicely. Try it, it is fun and your child will be ! swimming and jumping off the diving board by summer's end. Another similar program in Lafayette is Harriet Plummer. Have fun
Jan 2008

I am interested in hearing reviews of Harriet Plummer Aquatic School and Sherman Swim School. I have checked the archives, but I am particularly keen on hearing the two programs compared and contrasted if anyone is familiar with both. The ''FAQs'' on the Harriet Plummer website sounded as though they employ a bit of a ''tough love'' approach, but I don't know if that is actually the case. My non-swimming yet water-loving son is almost 5 and can be tentative in new situations. So, I just want to be sure he is as comfortable as possible so that his associations with swimming are positive. Thanks.


harriet plummer and sherman swim are both in the east bay city of lafayette, but from my experience at both, differ dramatically in approach. i should mention that my parenting orientation is very pro-child, and i try very hard never to make my children suffer unnecessarily -- it bothers me to hear them cry.

with that in mind, your depiction of harrient plummer as the ''tough love'' approach is consistent with my experience. my oldest child went to one lesson there, actually one-half of a lesson there, before i pulled him out 7 years ago. i was not comfortable watching my child(ren) cry when being introduced to the water -- and was not comfortable with the philosphy of HP.

sherman, by contrast, is much softer and gentler. they try to work with children's innate water fears and support them. my children all went to sherman and while it may have taken a bit longer to learn to swim than at the HP sink or swim school, they never felt abandon or cried.

now many years later, they are little fish - loving water and having fun, safe and secure. i would not recommend the HP method unless 1) you have a strong constitution and do not have a problem with making your child cry (at least for the short term) or 2) you have a child who is VERY EAGER to put their face in the water and take off (in which case you may not need lessons!) bekki


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