[Parentsgroup-list] recommendations for swimming lessons for toddlers (Marcelle Dougan)

Susannah Rose rose at fas.harvard.edu
Mon May 24 11:19:31 EDT 2010

Hello All:

My daughter, Sophia, now 5 and a half, had had swim lessons at the following

MAC - she had private lessons there starting at age 3. They were pricey, but the
one-on-one was worth the money to us. The small pool at the MAC is a bit cold,
so I would limit swimming there for small children to about 30-40 min. I also
read that small children tend to enjoy and learn better in warmer water (gee, I
cannot imagine why!) I am sure that the lessons here vary widely depending on
the the teacher, however -- Sophia's teacher was more like a "coach" -- by the
time we finished lessons with her, Sophia was swimming laps on her back at age
3! However, despite all she learned, Sophia *REALLY* did not like going to swim
lessons. She almost started developing a phobia. So, when her sessions were
finished, we switched her to a 3-kid class at Wellbridge (at the Charles

Wellbridge: The pool is nice, warm and the classes were much cheaper than the
MAC. However, this was basically a playtime class for Sophia -- she had a great
time, loved the lessons, but did not learn much at all. In fact, she went
backward in her abilities. So, we tried another option...

Cambridge War Memorial: These classes are (reportedly) based on the American Red
Cross swimming standards. Sophia has now taken 3 sessions of lessons (about a
year, I think), and she learned some good skills. The classes are not expensive
(about $60 for 10 or 12, I think), but the kids do not get very much one-on-one
attention. In my opinion, there are way too many children per instructor (at
least 6-8, depending on the day), and Sophia really only receives about 5
minutes a session of individualized attention. I find that I need to take her
to swim at least once a week myself to teach her and reinforce the lessons
(which, is good idea no matter how good the lessons are). She progressed to the
Level 3 just recently, but I do think that this was due to my own work with her
rather than her lessons. However, I do not have anything bad to say about the
instructors -- they seem good, professional, trained, etc.

Personally, I think that the ideal lessons would be based on the Red Cross
system, but only have 3-4 children per instructor, and not cost a ton. I have
not found this ideal class yet, however. Given this, I think that we are going
to go back to private lessons for a while -- either at the MAC, the War
Memorial or somewhere else.

Semi-private lessons (two children, slightly cheaper than private) are also
available at the War Memorial, but the children need to be at the same swimming

And, timely information: the American Academy of Pediatrics just recently
started recommending swim lessons for young children, starting at the ages of 1
to 4yo (depending on the child's development). This is a change from the past,
where they only recommended lessons for older kids. More information:

Hope this helps!

Susannah Rose, MS, MSW
PhD Candidate, Health Policy Program
Harvard University
rose at fas.harvard.edu

Quoting Alison Denton Jones <adjones at fas.harvard.edu>:

> I'd really like to hear answers - my daughter is a year old and we'd
> like to get her started swimming. thanks,
> alison
> On 5/23/2010 12:28 PM, parentsgroup-list-request at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> wrote:
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Message: 1
> > Date: Sun, 23 May 2010 09:27:25 -0400
> > From: Marcelle Dougan<marcie0817 at hotmail.com>
> > Subject: [Parentsgroup-list] recommendations for swimming lessons for
> > 	toddlers
> >
> >
> > Hi all,
> > I'm looking for swimming lessons for my two boys, aged 29 months and 15
> months.  Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
> > Enjoy the summer!
> > Thanks,Marcelle
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > *************************************************
> --
> ________________________________________________
> Alison Denton Jones	adjones at fas.harvard.edu
> Harvard University Sociology PhD Candidate
> 609 William James Hall
> 33 Kirkland St.		Cambridge, MA 02138
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