Recently, I was involved in a debate about which athletics are best for young kids. Big teams for teamwork and camaraderie? Individual sports for perseverance? Sure. All activities (athletic, creative, intellectual, etc.) tout several benefits. Parents looking to get their kids involved have a lot to think about when deciding where to start. And in this area, we have a luxury of (sometimes overwhelming) choice. So what do you prioritize?
This debate got me thinking about swimming and how it fits in with the discussion. Yes, swimming is technically an athletic activity. There’s both a team and individual element. There’s competitive and recreational pursuits. So is swimming just an athletic activity we should consider for our kids?
I would argue that it’s more.
Swimming is a life skill. It’s a safety skill.
Whether your child wants to be the next Michael Phelps or not, it’s important to at least know how to float and tread water in an emergency. And I would encourage all parents of able children to experience some type of swimming lesson early.
Now I’ll be candid here. In my family, we tried lessons at a few places. Unfortunately it just didn’t take. There were all sorts of fear, water in my eyes, I don’t love my teacher, I don’t want to kick my legs like that, this is too hard issues. I had heard great recommendations for Goldfish Swim School, so we agreed to try a month and see how it would work. And guess what?
Worth every stinking penny.
Here’s what has made Goldfish such a successful experience for our family.
- The teachers are so friendly, warm, and encouraging. My kids take to them like a fun babysitter in the water. They’re young and energetic. They applaud even the smallest victories. They smile and give lots of high fives. It makes the kids smile and enjoy the learning process. And if a kid is afraid – it greatly reduces their fear and increases willingness to learn.
- The teachers know what they’re doing. Teaching materials are kept poolside with clear techniques and goals for each group. You know that they’re not making stuff up along the way. There was educated thought and training put into the instruction.
- It’s safe. You’re not sticking to just the shallow end here – the whole pool is a kid-friendly depth. There’s a dedicated guard on the pool deck at all times. This guard watches kids awaiting their turn. They guide kids for potty runs. I’ve even seen them give out tissues when a kid took his/her bubble blowing lesson very seriously 🙂
- The goals are clear and the rewards are numerous. An island is positioned at an appropriate distance for your child to reach. It helps them know how far they can go independently and get the positive reinforcement that they reached it. The kids also get ribbons frequently for skills mastered or having a good listening day.
- Lots of communication. When the lesson has concluded, parents are called in to talk with the teacher about their child’s progress. Your son/daughter then gets to show off something they did well today. It’s really cute to see them so proud. You also get frequent progress reports in a nice checklist to see how you child is doing.
- Lots of attention and practice. The largest groups are only four kids. Kids are able to cycle in and out of the water quickly. This keeps their attention and allows them ample time to practice skills.
- It’s comfortable and convenient for parents. You watch the entire lesson from behind the glass. There’s free WiFi. After the lesson, there’s a shower and shampoo for the kids to rinse off. There’s also changing rooms and hair dryers. I like how we can go in for a lesson and go about with the rest of our day easily. There’s also toys out for siblings to stay occupied.
- Flexible Scheduling and Pricing. There’s so set sessions at Goldfish, so you can start whenever you want. If you start in the middle of the month, they’ll prorate you per lesson. They do have set times, but there’s lots of variety when you can get in. They run several group levels at one time too. So if you have kids at different levels, you can work with Goldfish to get a time that works for everyone. If your kid gets sick the night before? Give them a call before the lesson and you can make it up another time. No hassle.
- You see results. Your child definitely will improve. In our case, priority #1 was reducing fear of the water. After my daughter’s first lesson at Goldfish, she was so excited to get back in. She loves to go there (this did NOT happen at other places). And on a recent beach trip, I couldn’t get her out of the water. It’s unbelievable. With that, I know her swimming skills will only continue to progress.
Goldfish is definitely worth the investment. We’re a Goldfish family and will continue to be. We’ve gone to both the Ft. Washington and Oaks locations and love them equally. If you want to test drive it for yourself, check them out at a family swim!
The Oaks location is having a Pep Rally at the pool on Friday, September 7th from 6:30-8pm. It’s a FREE family swim with treats, a raffle, and family fun. Enjoy it!