We were super excited to enroll Lillian in a swim class recently taking place at the David D. Hunting YMCA location in Grand Rapids. At $84 for a seven week class, we knew it was a little pricey, but we thought it would be worth it for Lillian to have some daddy-daughter time doing something she loves: being in the water! I’d like to share about our experience in the class in case you’re looking into doing something similar, just so you can be prepared for what it might be like!
Pros: Every week, we got to look forward to Lillian’s special time with daddy in the pool. She was allowed to come early, so she could also free play independently before the class started. The instructor sang some active songs with the children that had fun motions in the water, like “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Ring Around the Rosie” (replacing “ashes, ashes” with “splashes, splashes”). When there was a substitute instructor, she taught parents how to get in and out of the pool safely with their child. The regular instructor also tried to work on getting children used to going under water and swimming on their backs (which Lillian hated, but was still a good experience!). At the end of the class she got a little certificate of completion.
Cons: The class was supposed to be thirty minutes, from 6:10-6:40, but ended at least five minutes early every class. When you’re paying $84 for a class, you really want to get your money’s worth and have every minute you’re promised! Also, the instructor (and all of the instructors we saw) was generally very unenthusiastic, often telling the parents what to do and then staring off in the distance while parents and children completed the task. Maybe as a former teacher myself my expectations are too high, but I thought the instructor would interact more with the parents and children while they were doing each activity. I also thought the instructor would at least fake some excitement when teaching the class and when saying hello and goodbye to the parents, but it really just seemed like the instructor was bored and didn’t want to be there.
Additionally, the family restrooms were almost always dirty, so I didn’t feel super comfortable getting Lillian changed in them. Lastly, despite contacting several staff members in advance about having to miss a lesson due to a family trip and asking if we could do a make-up lesson, not a single person returned my phone call or got back to me in any way.
Conclusion: Ultimately, I’m glad we had the experience of doing swim lessons with Lillian, but I’m even more glad that it’s summer and she can now play in a pool at home. Until she’s a little older, we’d like to do swimming with her without a structured class. When we think she’s ready to start learning more skills than we can teach her, we would like to take a trial lesson before joining another class (which our YMCA location does not offer). I think the next class we might try will be a tumbling class, but somewhere else.
I hope this review was helpful to you, and would love to know: Have you ever taken your child to any classes like swimming? What was your experience like? Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear from you!