World’s Largest Swimming Lesson Tips – at Home

Scott Newland, Aquatics Supervisor

 

Today, all Great Wolf Lodge resorts took part in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. The event took place simultaneously at waterparks, community pools and aquatics facilities worldwide to help demonstrate the importance of teaching children to swim.

We had a great time with the children who took part in the swim lesson at our Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City. Teaching swimming lessons has been a fun part of my career for the past eight years. Swimming instruction provides the fundamental aquatic skills necessary to help keep yousafe in, on and around the water. It is beneficial to participants six months and older.

Sometimes though, as a parent, the waters can be a bit murky when trying to determine the best instruction for your children. In honor of the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, here are a few things I encourage parents to keep in mind when seeking the best swim lessons for their children:

 

Consider the facility:

  • Is there a variety of depths ranging from very shallow (on stairs or sloped entries), to water deep enough for full swimming practice?
  • Is the water temperature appropriate? Young children get cold quickly, and their attention span could be significantly affected.
  • What type of programming does the facility offer? Will swim lessons have a designated area, or are there other activities such as lap swimming or water aerobics taking place in the same area?

How long and how often are the lessons?

  • Swim lessons vary in length, from 15-30 minutes for younger childrento hour-long lessons for more advanced swimmers.
  • Swimming is a psychomotor skill, like throwing a ball; practice makes perfect! Lessons that meet once a week are sufficient to retain the skills being taught, but lessons that meet two or even three times a week have been shown to significantly improve retention.

What certifications and training do the instructors have?

  • The American Red Cross, YMCA, and Ellis and Associates are all common entities that certify swimming instructors. While some facilities modify swim programs to better fit the needs of their customers, the most important thing is to know that your instructor is adequately trained.

Know the swim lesson curriculum

  • Instructors should be well prepared for each lesson, and ensure that all of the class material is taught.
  • Programs that enroll by age and test the students on the first day will typically have classes that are more closely grouped by skill, and the “Level” of the swimmer is more of a tool for the instructor or a benchmark for the swimmer.
  • Everyone learns at different rates. Don’t be upset if multiple attempts are needed on some levels. Conversely, the instructor should be addressing the concerns that are keeping participants from progressing.

Is anxiety a concern?

  • By far the greatest barrier to learning how to swim is anxiety! Be sure you are not pushing your little swimmer too far, too soon. Talk with your instructor after every class, and make sure that you know what you can do to help your swimmer progress. 

Scott Newland
Aquatics Supervisor
Great Wolf Lodge - Traverse City