How To Pick The Perfect Swim Instructor
by Kaitlin Gardner
When we started a family, I wanted my kids to learn how to swim. It was a skill that they would use for a lifetime, and our family would be around the water many times. Just going to the local pool and signing them up for classes didn’t feel right for me. I did homework to find the best instructor I could for my kids.
Ask around. I asked a number of parents with older children about their swim instructors. I heard some good things, and some parents steered me away from programs where they didn’t feel satisfied with the results. I was glad I took that time, because it helped me narrow down the choices before I went any further. I’ve found some great resources with more detail about swim programs for kids:
A personal visit. Once I narrowed down my options and had a list of swim schools that sounded the strongest, I made visits. I talked to the manager of the school, to get an impression of how professional the person was, because I felt like his approach would filter down through the school. I wanted someone who took the job of teaching my kids to swim as seriously as I was approaching it. I was really impressed by the commitment of the school managers, and knew I was on the right track.
What’s the plan? I wanted to know how the teaching would be handled – would they just have the kids jump in the shallow end and start showing them the Australian crawl? I wanted classes that would work through a plan where the kids learned basics and moved forward building on that foundation. I found several schools that had similar lesson plans, and I felt really good about the thoroughness and approach of the lessons.
Check instructor credentials. I asked the school managers what certifications were required for a swim instructor. I had looked online and found the required levels of certification, and in every case, the swim schools followed those standards. I was feeling really good about the schools at this point. Some people might think I was going a little overboard, but with the lives of my kids at stake, I was willing to take extra steps.
Watch a class. I asked the managers of the schools if I could watch a class. I had read that if they don’t want you to do that, it’s a warning sign that the school is not a good one. In every case, the schools I was considering encouraged to watch their swim classes. I sat and talked with other Moms who were watching their kids in class. I got a couple of names of great instructors from them, so I made sure to sit in on those classes. I had narrowed my choices to a couple of instructors by this point.
How’s the attitude? I didn’t want my kids to be taught by somebody who was just going through the motions, so watching the class, I was checking for the attitude of the instructor. I was amazed at how calm, caring and thorough the instructors were. They made sure each child demonstrated proficiency with what was being taught before they moved on. I was astonished by how well mannered and orderly the kids were. When I made my final choice, I was confident I had found the perfect instructor for my kids. It made me smile to watch them learning how to swim, and how their confidence in the water grew with each lesson.
Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.