Growing up in New Jersey, I was always around water. Whether it be swimming at the pool club, heading to the beach, or taking a dip in our own backyard, we loved it. The idea of swim lessons wasn’t as common, merely being taught by our parents how to tread water, and what to do if you didn’t feel safe. We knew the basics, not to dive in shallow pools, never to swim alone, and always swim at the beach closer to the lifeguards. Throughout my childhood I was certainly a confident swimmer, but as an adult, certainly not an expert.
Water safety has become a universally discussed topic, much attributed to social media. The statistics are staggering, with drowning being the leading cause of unintentional death in kids under age 4 in the United States (from the CDC). Kids can drown in less than 20 seconds. We now live in a world where the preventative measures taken regarding water safety are imperative for our youth. And that was clear to me this past summer, when my daughter, our incredibly strong-willed and daring four-year-old, started jumping into the water with very little fear.
This fall I signed our tenacious little Gracie up for swim lessons at an indoor facility in Middletown, Goldfish Swim School. It’s relatively new to the community, and I was hearing positive feedback about their program from moms around town. I was already loving their convenient schedule offered to busy working parents, with classes available up to 6:30 pm during the week.
I have to say, the facility itself is incredible. It’s bright, pristine, and inviting, complete with “shiver-free” heated pools. Goldfish’s learn-to-swim program is offered to kids from 4 months to 12 years where their holistic philosophy, “The Science of SwimPlay®,” makes learning to swim fun, in a 4:1 class size. Grace started within her age group, and was evaluated at her starting class level. Although she’s daring, she was hesitant to stay under water for very long. After the second class, her instructor had her not only swimming for a few seconds under water, but learning how to put her feet into motion. I observed other children as well, who came in crying, but were soon comforted by their instructors, and left with a smile on their faces.
The pools are cleaned with a state-of-the-art water purification system to keep them sanitary. And you don’t have to worry about standing in a crowded room with other parents waiting. Their air-conditioned viewing gallery is designed for parents to sit and watch the kids swim, and socialize with other parents or just relax. Naturally all of the instructors are certified and trained, with multiple sets of eyes on the kids in the pool at all times. When it’s time to leave, and it’s 15 degrees outside, there’s even kid-friendly amenities like swimsuit dryers and a hair drying station!
Each time Grace accomplished a milestone, she would receive a ribbon at the end of class. She really loved coming home with it, so proud she could do something new. And two weeks ago, she even moved up to a new group, after accomplishing the various steps in her first class, which has truly given her a sense of empowerment. She asks every week when swim class is again, and how many days are left until she can go back. She’s gone from swimming with her swim jacket and not knowing exactly how make her body move forward in water, to swimming underwater five feet, and floating on her back without any help. They also teach them how to safely climb in and out of the pool. The progress has been incredible to witness.
We’ve naturally signed up for more lessons through the spring, it’s really a no-brainer, as it’s by far one of her favorite things to do. The staff has been a pleasure all winter, she’s clearly in very good hands. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes by summer, and can certainly take comfort in knowing she’s safer in the water. Maybe she will even teach me a thing or two soon!
Sponsored by Goldfish Swim School