So the most common misconceptions parents have about swimming and what kids can learn at specific ages, they come in with certain expectations for measurable progress for their children. Now progress can’t always be measured on a physical scale. Sometimes it’s emotional. Sometimes it’s physical. Sometimes it’s mental progress that they make.
And a lot of parents want to see some sort of measurable progress in the water. And they equate that to doing swimming strokes, freestyle, backstroke, learning to swim they say. My definition of swimming has changed over the years coming from competitive swimming into Learn to Swim.
And I just try to tell parents to try to be patient with the learning process. You can’t always measure their improvement, necessarily. 9/10 times you can. Some kids who are fearful, just forming a rapport with the instructor is progress. They will open up their trust to making more progress in the future.
So at an early age, children 3 and younger, they can’t really learn swimming strokes. They things we work on in our program are submersions. Getting them comfortable with their eyes open under water so they can see where the wall is. Getting them comfortable floating on their back and possibly rolling from back to front and vice versa.
Those types of things are critical skills for them to learn before the age of 3. So the decision for deciding on group versus private, you have to take a couple things into consideration. The age of the child, of course. The type of child you’re dealing with. Are they shy? Do they need more attention?
It’s my opinion that a lot of parents are misinformed about the benefits of private lessons, especially earlier ages. I believe group lessons provide a better learning environment for kids 30 months and under. And the reason for that is that the more people in the class, the more language that they’re hearing, the more kids they can interact with, provide intellectual and social benefits as well.
On top of benefitting their brain development, group lessons are often cheaper than private lessons. And I don’t think parents need to spend the extra money on private lessons at that particular age.
Now when they get to be 30-36 months and older, possibly private lessons. But it does depend on the child. Some children need the extra attention; whereas other kids actually do better when they see other kids doing things as well. It turns into some sort of – for lack of a better term – competition for them. So it really depends on the age of the child. And we base it on brain development as opposed to trying to upsell parents on private lessons.