1. How is Houston Swim Club different from other swim schools in Houston?
At the Houston Swim Club, we are focused on ensuring the safety of all children in and around the water. Our approach is somewhat different than others in that the majority of our class time is spent working on skills and not on playing in the pool. Our program is “lovingly disciplined”, but we still have lots of fun while we are learning! Songs, games, and stroke drills are incorporated into our lessons in order to make the learning process fun and enjoyable for students! We believe that swimming lessons are a necessity for all children. Knowing how to swim could potentially save their life!
2. What kind of training program do your instructors go through?
All instructors are required to receive certification in First Aid and CPR. In addition to that, they also complete the Water Safety Instructor (WSI) course through the Red Cross. Finally, all instructors must complete a minimum of 40 hours of in the water, hands-on training with a Head Instructor or Pool Manager before teaching classes independently.
3. How well are your instructors trained to handle upset and/or fearful children?
Our 40-hour training program has been developed so that instructors in training are able to observe and work with all class levels. This also gives them the opportunity to interact with a variety of student personalities and temperaments. Many of our instructors are parents and/or have had previous experiences in the field of education. Crying, anxiety, and fearfulness can be expected of beginning swimmers and therefore, our instructors are trained to use a gentle and supportive approach to introducing them to the water.
4. What times are classes held?
We hold classes during the following hours:
Monday – Friday 9am – 12pm and 1 – 7:30pm
Saturday 9am – 12pm
Please contact the specific Houston Swim Club location you are interested in for class times and availability.
5. Would it be better to enroll in private lessons?
Our experience has taught us that children do best in a group setting. Our small class size (4:1) allows time for each child to practice their skills throughout the lesson. Group classes also allow children time to interact socially with their peers and to learn through observing and demonstrating. Private lessons are typically recommended for children with special needs and/or children who have a goal to meet within a specific time frame (e.g. perfect their dive for swim team; swim a specified distance for camp, etc.).
6. Why do you wait until a child is 2 ½ years old before placing them into a group class without a parent?
This policy is in place because we are concerned for your child’s safety while in the water. We must be confident that your child will stay on the step and take their turn during the lesson.
7. Why does my child have to come everyday for 2 weeks?
Through our years of experience we have found that beginning swimmers retain new skills and progress much better with the repetition and consistency of an Everyday session. The Everyday session also helps new students to get used to the structure of our program.
8. What is the goal of the 2-week session?
Guppy: By the end of the 2-week session the average Guppy has developed an interest in the water and is able to back float independently.
Catfish: By the end of the 2-week session the average Catfish has developed a basic understanding of the freestyle stroke with side breathing.
9. Why aren’t parents allowed on the deck during the lesson?
All lessons are viewed through our parent observation rooms. The rooms have mirrored glass windows so that the parents can see the pool clearly, but the swimmers cannot see in. We have found that children are easily distracted when a parent is present poolside. Our goal is for the children to focus on the instructor and on the lesson for the full half hour. We do have designated award days during which all parents ARE welcome to sit poolside and observe classes, take pictures, and videotape!
10. My child has asked me to promise that they won’t have to do a specific task in class. What should I do?
Since you’re the parent, and not the teacher, you can’t make that promise. Advise your child to express those feelings to their instructor. They will be more likely to trust their instructor if they know you do as well.
11. Should I pull my child out of lessons if he cries?
No. We believe that abruptly removing your child from a lesson will only reinforce any anxieties or fears that are currently present. As with any new activity, it will take most children some time to become acclimated and comfortable with the environment and to develop a bond of trust with the instructor. Patience, reinforcement, and lots of love from Houston Swim Club staff members and from parents will help all children to become more comfortable with their surroundings and to develop a love for the water!
12. How long will it take for my child to learn to swim?(see question 8)
While continuous progression is ideal, we are aware that all children excel at different rates. We cannot tell you ahead of time how long it will take for your child to swim, but we will do our best to make progress as rapid and consistent as possible. Learning is a gradual and ongoing process. Therefore, we recommend maintaining classes throughout the year in order to maximize skill retention. The learning speed of each child will also depend on prior water experience, parental attitudes and expectations, acceptance of new learning situations, and the child’s natural learning abilities.
13. What are the benefits of infant swimming lessons?
As soon as your child can crawl, they are at risk for drowning. We begin lessons for children as young as four months of age. There are multiple benefits associated with beginning lessons at such a young age. Lessons provide a pleasant play time for parent and child to enjoy each other, they enhance psychological development through the stimulation of the senses and socialization, and they also improve the development of gross motor skills. The younger a child is when they begin lessons, the easier they will learn to swim, and will most likely not develop fears related to the water.
14. Are infants submerged on their first lesson?
Yes, but the length and depth of the submersion depends upon the child’s age and their previous water experience.
15. My pediatrician says it’s bad for babies/toddlers to swim. Is that true?
No, it is not harmful for children to swim at a young age. Sometimes this statement is made because people feel that if a young child is taught to swim, then the parent(s) will be more likely to let them swim while unsupervised. The skills that your child learns at HSC are not a replacement for parental supervision.
16. My child is a good swimmer so they are “drown proofed”, right?
No. Water-related accidents can occur regardless of an individual’s swimming ability. We strongly advise parents to supervise their children at all times while in or around the water. There is no substitute for parental supervision - never assume someone else is watching your children! The skills that your child learns at HSC are not a replacement for parental supervision.
17. How do I know when my child is ready to move up to the next level?
The last week of each monthly maintenance session is Progress Report/Award Week. Your child’s instructor will present your child with an award when they are ready to advance to the next level.
18. What happens if my child’s teacher is absent?
If one of our instructors is absent, then a substitute will be provided. All of our teachers are trained in the same curriculum, so the routine of the class will be the same. Please be open minded about substitutes so that your child will be as well.
19. Do swim lessons cause ear infections?
No. Moisture remaining in the ear canal causes bacteria to grow, which causes infection. Please see our information packet regarding treating your child’s ears or speak with your child’s pediatrician.
20. Do you recommend using flotation devices?
If you must use a flotation device for your child, then we recommend using something that will allow them to maintain a horizontal body position in the water. Such devices are: noodles, life jackets, swim vests, or flotation suits (those with pads in the front and back). Please DO NOT put arm floaties on your child as they cause them to remain in a vertical position in the water.
21. Why do you offer lessons year round?
Our indoor, heated pools allow us to offer lessons all year long no matter what the weather. Joining a maintenance class during the fall and winter months will allow your child to continue to enjoy the water while maintaining and improving upon their swimming abilities as well. Swimming is an excellent source of physical activity and the water is the perfect place to exercise without placing stress on the knees and joints, like so many other activities do.
22. Can I get the lyrics to the HSC songs?
Parents often request the lyrics to the songs used is our classes. Click here to view them. (PDF)