Learning to swim and not having a fear of water is one of the most valuable lessons we can teach our children. And not only that, but playing in water can be one of their happiest childhood memories. One of the easiest ways to teach our children to swim is through swim lessons. Those of us who are dedicated and committed might try to do this alone, but most of us need the structure that a ‘lesson’ provides. There are a number of places in the area where we can take our children to learn to swim from as young as 6 months. I’ll start with the YMCA, as that’s where I have been taking my two year old since he was 11 months.
The two YMCA branches closest to us are Roxborough and Abington. I have used Abington and have nothing but good things to say about the classes. We started off in Shrimp/Kipper classes for 6-12 month olds. This half hour class consisted of lots of nursery rhymes with parents helping their child to splash and kick. My son quickly learnt the joy of splashing and hasn’t stopped since! There was also playtime with lots of ducks and fish. The focus of the early classes is to let children explore the water. We are currently completing our last session of Inia (12-24 months) and my son’s ‘swimming’ ability has progressed significantly.
He has learnt to ‘reach and pull’ and kick his legs with me supporting his tummy. He’ll toss a toy and swim towards it (again, with my support). He will jump in the water from sitting or standing after singing rhymes like ‘Jack be nimble, Jack be cool, Jack jump into the swimming pool’. He has also learnt how to hold on to the edge of the pool facing the outside as well as facing inwards. And he has started to learn how to move along the edge of the pool by crossing his hands one over the other, just one of the safety rules they introduce to the kids. We are looking forward to progressing to Perch for 2-3 year olds.
Lesson structures may vary between YMCA branches and classes maybe grouped slightly differently. Once children reach the ages of three or four, and if they are ready, they may take swim lessons on their own in a familiar environment and sometimes with teachers they already know.
The summer session is currently underway at the YMCA with the second summer session due to start July 26th. There are fewer classes available in the summer and more should be available come September. If you’re not a member of the YMCA but think that you’ll be taking your child for regular swimming classes then it’s most cost effective to have the child become a member ($15.25 month) and you get discounted prices for the swim classes and well as other classes available such as tumble classes. The other option is for them to be a program member ($50 year) where classes are slightly more expensive and can be booked one week later that full members.
Plymouth Community Center
I have also been recommended the Plymouth Community Center. They have a number of classes available for children from the age of 6 months and upwards. There are different rates dependent on whether you are a resident or non-resident and/or have a pass ($30 to $54 for a 6 week session). The classes have similar goals to those at the YMCA , to orient children and explore the water environment and educate parents about safe water activities.
SwimAmerica lessons are available at Penn Charter in East Falls. Parent child classes are currently offered on Sundays 12-12.30 for 18 months to 3 year olds. Again, the focus of the lessons is to make children more comfortable in the water before beginning a more structured program. Lesson groups are small in size and last 25-30 minutes. There is a one-off family registration fee of $20 and an 8 week session fee of $90. They also offer lessons for school-age children.
If you know of any other places in the area where you can take your children to learn to swim, please let us know and we’ll update the page.