When you are looking for swimming lessons, there are many factors to consider to help you choose the right program. Here, we have assembled some of the important factors to help you determine what is best for your children and for yourself.
- Instructor Experience - While certifications such as a current WSI certificate is nice, NOTHING replaces an instructor’s experience relevant to the needs of your child, or your own needs if you are an adult learning to swim. Does the instructor have experience working with Special Needs children? Do they teach safety skills? Do they at least have CPR and First Aid certifications? Are they skilled in teaching children or adults with a fear of the water? Are they good with infants and children? Are they able to teach at a competitive level? Will they work one-on-one in a private setting with you or your child? Depending upon your needs, these are questions that you should ask.
- Class Size - One of the most important factors when searching for a swim program is the instructor-to-student ratio relative to the age of the student. If your child is in a class with a 10:1 ratio, even if the class is cheaper than one with a 4:1 ratio, spend the extra money! Your child will learn to swim much faster and it will be cheaper overall.
- Facility – Is the facility clean? Does it have a lifeguard in addition to the instructor? Does it have changing room and bathroom facilities? Is it heated? Is the pool deck uncluttered? Do they close and shock the pool when a child has an accident in it?
- Insurance – Does the facility carry liability insurance? If an outside entity runs the swim program at the facility, do they also carry liability insurance? Does the instructor who is teaching lessons at your home privately carry their own insurance?
- Age Appropriate Schedule – Does the swim program you are evaluating have programs that are appropriate for different age levels or will your 3-year-old be swimming with 9 year-olds? Is the program large enough to teach age-appropriate classes enough times during the day/week/weekend/evening in order to accommodate your schedule? Do they have flexibility to add more classes to help accommodate your needs?
- Background Check – Does the swim program run background checks on their new instructors? This is especially important if they are coming to your home for private lessons.
After reading the above, you now have some insight into things that you may not have considered when you decided to look for swimming lessons. Do your research and ask questions before you take the leap. Ask friends who have had their own children in lessons. Price is far from the deciding factor.