Frequently Asked Questions
Please see the list of frequently asked questions below. If your question has not been answered, feel free to contact me.
What is the best age for children to start swim lessons?
In recent years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has revised their best time for a child to start learning to swim from age 4 to as early as age 1, although that decision varies with each individual child and his or her circumstances. I have found that oftentimes a 3-year-old child has the motor skill ability, as well as the attention span, to be able to start learning to swim. Often times I will recommend to a parent that they just enjoy playing with their children in the water as infants and young toddlers, as that will be a great introduction to the pool until they are ready for swimming lessons. However, in situations where you have a pool in your back yard, are at the pool or lake on a regular basis, or have a child who has no fear of the water, then you should take additional measures to assure their safety by enrolling them in an Infant Swimming Resource program which is geared to teach infants and young children survival skills. I do not teach ISR classes, so if your child is under 2 1/2-3 years old, and you need them to learn survival skills, please enroll them in a certified ISR course or something comparable.
How many lessons do you recommend that my children should take?
I recommend a minimum of 8-12 lessons for beginners because it usually takes 3-4 lessons just for them to get comfortable going under the water. Once that is accomplished, I start working on safety skills and teaching them how to swim. While many parents only sign up for 5 lessons, it's not really enough unless the child is already comfortable in the water and enjoys going under. Some families sign up for only 3 lessons, just as a "refresher" from the previous season, while other families will have their children take as many as 20 lessons over the course of the summer. Each family has to decide what will work with their schedule and what will work financially, and I try to make the most of that time I have set aside for each child.
How long are your lessons?
My lessons are 30 minutes in length, although some parents prefer to share a lesson where 2 siblings, at different skill levels, split the lesson by each having a 15 minute lesson. Other parents might opt to have a 60 minute lesson for their older child who has the stamina for a longer lesson.
Do you teach the Infant Swimming Resource technique?
No, as I have never been certified to teach that program, although I've been told by parents that I have a similar approach with my teaching of survival skills to each child whom I teach. I always teach safety and survival before the perfection of the various swimming strokes.
What is the youngest age child you will teach?
I work with children 18 months and older, although the under 3 year old children usually do not have the stamina, attention span, or motor ability to withstand a 30 minute lesson. When I work with the younger children, it is usually a 5,10, or 15 minute lesson that is part of another sibling's lesson.
Do you work with special needs children?
I have never been through any specific training to work with children with mental or physical disabilities, but I have worked with quite a few over the years. I do my best by adapting to whatever technique the parents tell me works best with their child, and I am very loving with their child. I can't guarantee I will be successful with yours, but I'll try my best to make it a positive experience.
How close together should the lessons be to one another? Is once or twice a week okay?
This depends on the age and skill level of the student. An older child who already knows how to swim and is comfortable going underwater will be fine if they can only come once or twice weekly. However, for young children (2-5 years) who are not comfortable in the water, it is best to have the lessons as close together as possible in my opinion. I will recommend they come every day (M-Th) if possible, or at least 3 times/week. It can be stressful on the child when they first start learning to accept going underwater, and they seem to perform better when they can come on a regular basis without too much time in between lessons for the fear to build up all over again.
How much are your lessons?
Private lessons are $45 per lesson and semi-private lessons are $60 ($30/child) per lesson. If you are a resident of Fieldstone Farms and taking lessons at that location, you will receive a $5 discount per lesson.
Where do you teach your lessons?
I teach in Fieldstone Farms Subdivision (501 Black Horse Parkway).
Will you come to our neighborhood or home pool to teach lessons instead?
No, I am not available to teach at any other location.
What should I do if my child is kicking, screaming, and crying that he/she doesn't want to come to lessons? What if they keep telling me they don't want to go under the water? Should I make them?
Be prepared for your child to do exactly that. Being fearful of the water is a healthy fear. Of course, they don't want to come if they have to go underwater. It's extremely scary to them. However, they must learn to conquer this fear by doing just that. It's always the hardest on the parents. Their child might be miserable at first, but you need to remember all the benefits and reasons for bringing them to lessons, and that is to teach them to be safe in the water and learn new skills. I will be firm with them, but at the same time, extremely loving and encouraging. I always explain what we are going to do next, and I let them know that they need to do what I say because we are going to do just that. This will be my 47th year of teaching children who may cry, scream, pinch, bite, hit, etc.. all because they are scared at first. Because I understand their fear and appreciate their fear, I will remain incredibly patient with them, no matter what they do or say to me (but I will not tolerate unacceptable behavior). Teaching children to be safe in the water and learn to swim is one of my most important missions in life. I can assure you that in the thousands of children I have taught to swim, nearly 100% of them have learned new safety skills and even like me again by the end of their lessons. The few times I have not been successful have been when the parents gave up too soon because they couldn't bear to see their child miserable during those first few lessons. The parent is the one who must decide what is best for their child, which I respect and I am willing to adjust my teaching techniques whenever necessary if that is what the parent wants. Please trust that I know what I'm doing and I know what works or I wouldn't still be teaching.
Will my child know how to swim by the end of his/her lessons? Will they know how to the freestyle stroke with the breathing?
Many factors determine how much your child will progress. Age, motor skill development, ability to multi-task, ability to mentally understand instruction, etc. all play into what they will accomplish during their lessons. Some children do not float easily, and therefore have to work so much harder to swim and stay afloat. Some children, no matter how often you work with them, will never be an excellent swimmer, when others pick it up so easily and excel. I do all in my power to teach them how to survive in the water, in different positions and situations. Safety, endurance, and confidence in the water is so much more important than having a beautiful stroke. By all means, I will teach them their strokes as they are ready to learn them, but each child is different as to when he/she masters their strokes. I find that parents sometimes have unrealistic expectations as to how much the child can advance during their lessons. Anything that they learn from their lessons will be an accomplishment to be proud of.
What do I need to bring to lessons for my children? Should they wear goggles? Can they wear a swim mask?
Please be sure to have a towel for your child for when their lesson is finished. If they are not yet potty trained, they need to wear swim diapers. Please take your child to the bathroom just before the lesson to help prevent it from happening during the lesson. Don't forget the sunscreen, and if you already know their eyes are sensitive to chlorine or salt water, bring good quality goggles that you have already adjusted to fit your child. I prefer that they start without goggles so they can get adjusted to how it feels on their eyes when they go under. If they really struggle without the goggles, I will advise that you let them wear goggles. Some children are very sensitive and as a result, do so much better with goggles. However, if they do not fit well, it is a continual distraction to the lesson, so please invest in a good quality pair that is the proper size and fit. Many children never need them and do great without them. I have never worn goggles myself, and I like the child to be able to experience swimming without them so they are prepared should they unexpectedly fall in the water. I do not allow face masks that cover the nose to be used during swimming lessons with the exception of pre-approved medical situations, as it is important for students to learn to control their breathing with both their mouth and their nose.
Should we stay for the lesson? Do you want us in the water with our child? Can I leave and come back when the lesson is over? What if my child doesn't want me to leave?
I never want to discourage the parent from watching the lesson, but sometimes it needs to be from a distance, in a hidden spot. If your child is unaffected by your presence, you are welcome to remain in the pool area. However, if you are a distraction because your child keeps calling, crying, or reaching out for you, it is better for you to leave. Once again, years of experience have proven that your child almost always performs much better when you are out of sight. He may cry for awhile, he may cry for days, but he cries less when you are not there to react to his demands for comfort and attention. I assure you, I will comfort and nuture him during your absence, but will let you know if I decide that you should remain. These are different from the ISR classes and "Mommy and Me" classes where the child is much younger, and would suffer from separation anxiety which is why in those classes the parent is often if not always in the pool with their child and instructor. I have taught the "Mommy and Me" classes, and if that's what you are interested in for your child, I am adaptable to that. I am continually sensitive to the parent's expectation for what they want their child to acomplish during the lessons, so I will adjust accordingly. If you need to leave during the lesson to run a quick errand, that is fine as long as there are not 2 small children who will not follow direction, and in that case, a parent needs to remain nearby in case one child is continually getting up and trying to leave the pool.
What happens when a lesson has to be canceled? When can we make them up?
I do not make up missed lessons with the exception of severe weather-related situations, in which case I will text you to let you know if the lesson is canceled. Make-up lessons will be held the last Friday of June and July, and during the latter part of August. If you need to cancel a lesson, please TEXT me (615) 351-0311 at least 24 hours in advance. If severe weather arrives after the start of a lesson, the lesson is finished, and not made up as we cannot control last-minute weather-related circumstances
What happens if I'm late to a lesson? Can you run over on your time so my child can have a 30 minute lesson?
I need to keep on schedule as much as possible because I have many back to back lessons with no break in between. Therefore, if you are late, you will only be able to swim during your allotted time period so that the lesson scheduled after yours can start on time.
What if it's cold, cloudy, or rainy? Do we still have lessons??
Unfortunately, I cannot control the weather or we would have perfect swimming conditions for all lessons all summer! However, if it's very cold (mid to low 60's), raining heavily, or thundering and lightning, lessons will need to be rescheduled. If it is cloudy or light rain without lightning or thunder, lessons will go on as scheduled. While it's not ideal conditions, it still works. However, if the children are very young (2-3), I'll recommend rescheduling. If I know conditions dictate that we cancel, I will text you in advance, or you can text me if you are questioning it. Sometimes weather conditions deteriorate while I'm in the middle of an existing lesson, and in that case, I'll try to have my phone handy or have another parent take calls for me if you question whether or not to attend.