We realize that learning to swim is probably 75% psychological, so we concentrate on having fun and improving self-confidence. We work on a variety of skills so the children can have many achievements to feel good about. We try to structure what each group and each child does in a manner that almost prohibits long term failure.
We’ve found the old adage, “nothing succeeds like success” to be quite apt. At the same time, we constantly challenge the children so that they know that whatever they do achieve is real and substantial – something they can truly be proud of.
In fact, one central lesson we try to teach that goes well beyond the swimming pool is:
YES! I CAN.
Be it putting one’s face in the water or swimming the length of the pool under water, we hope to purvey a sense of accomplishment that can be generalized into all aspects of a developing youngster’s life.
SUGGESTIONS FOR PARENTS:
There are lots of things that you can do during and after lessons to help make your child’s swimming experience as positive and effective as possible. See some ideas below.
1. Watching Lessons:
We welcome parents watching us. The best place to watch is from a comfortable distance where your child can concentrate on us and you can relax. When parents come who usually can’t because of work or other obligations, it is best to do so unobtrusively. Usually it is best to not even tell the child you’re coming, but to show up unnoticed, and not grab your child’s attention until after the lesson. Then make it a big deal.
2. Talking to Teachers:
If you want more info on just exactly what we did to accomplish a skill, what you can do to practice a skill with your child, or anything else, just ask the teacher. If possible, it is best to alert the teacher at the beginning of class that you’d like a moment at the end of class to talk.
3. Crying or Underachieving:
Crying usually subsides quickly in our lessons, as long as you do not give it too much attention at home. However, if it doesn't also pass at home, please let us know.
On the other hand, if you think your child is putting us on about being afraid, don't hesitate to tell us. Though we want to be sure we don't push too hard, too early, we also never want to hold a child back either.
4. Between Lessons:
Whether it's overnight, the weekend, or weeks between lessons, there are a few things we'd like you to remember.
Practice is good. Kids may need to repeat things a zillion times, ad nauseum to you perhaps, but still fresh to them.
If you are unsure of what you are doing, err on the side of caution. Especially during the two weeks of a lesson session, leave the pushing to us; basically, just reinforce the skills they are already learning.
PLEASE avoid language like "I can't believe you can do...." The underlying message in that phrase is "you're in over your head." Instead, adopt an attitude of "that's great! (but normal to learn so much)." Also watch what other children say so they don't pass their fears to yours just when s/he is building confidence.
5. After Lessons:
If you want some pointers on how to continue working with your child yourself, let us know at the beginning of the final lesson. We'll then plan time to help you.
If you want to schedule again, just fill out another registration form. (Don't try to do anything verbally on the pool deck.)
For a beginning swimmer, it is optimal to do multiple sessions. How many and whether you do them consecutively or take a 2-4 week break between lessons depends on how often you can take them to a pool to practice.
Classes run two weeks, four days per week, 35-40 minutes per day. This allows us enough time and consistency to build a good relationship with the children, lay a base of knowledge, and practice it until it becomes more a part of that child. For true beginners, we may add an extra class if scheduling permits to gain even more consistency.
Why Groups ?
We feel groups are the best environment for kids to learn. It gives them a chance to work hard, then relax. They also learn by watching and by the “well… I guess I can too!” phenomenon.
We have also had good success main-steaming mildly handicapped children into our classes because of our high teacher to pupil ratio and our caring assistants.
Because consistency is so important, You will get the same well-qualified teacher every day. All teachers, no matter what their former experience, undergo an extensive training period with Bob.
Classes are organized by age and ability level in order to provide the best possible environment for your child to progress. We also try to place siblings in concurrent or back-to-back classes and consider parental time constraints. All of this adds up to quite a juggling act. Since we can’t foresee what client needs will be, we can’t schedule specific classes at specific times 2-3 months in advance. We know this complicates your planning but feel that this method truly benefits your kids. Dates/times will be confirmed as early as possible.
I will guarantee all our lessons. That is not to say I guarantee each child will learn to swim – but that each child will be more capable in the water when they finish than when they began.
Again any questions/concerns should be immediately addressed to the teacher in charge or to Bob. We’ll make sure you get your money’s worth.
Aside from regular group lessons, Bob Ruth Aquatics offers a Parent/Child class, a swim team, and limited private lessons.
This class is offered for 18-33 month olds. Essentially, YOU are the assistant teacher. We are going to teach you to teach your child. Only secondarily will we try to directly teach your child.
Most toddlers are too attached to their parents for us to develop the necessary relationship to effectively teach them in just a few short lessons.
Swim Team (Dolphins):
The Dolphins are a swim team that practices 4-5 times per week and attends several meets during the summer. Morning and evening times are available. Participants must be at least 7 ½ yrs-old and level 9 (breathing to the side and having had an introduction to other strokes such as butterfly and backstroke). Call to receive the complete Dolphin Information Packet.
We do not offer private lessons for children except in very special cases (see Why Groups?).
We do give private lessons for swim team participants who are in their teens or for adults who are seriously interested in improving their swimming skills at any level.
There is absolutely NO swimming before or after lessons.
Rain: If it rains (and often it is not raining at lessons when it is raining in town or even Betton Hills), there is no problem for those of us in the water. If there is lightning, then we take the kids inside.
There are many, many valuable things we can do with the children out of the water and it is very important to continue to build the relationship of trust. Therefore, please come on every rainy day, unless you feel the storm is so bad it would be dangerous to drive.
There are no make-ups on a regular basis. If it rains we go inside; if it rains 2 days, we spend extra time in the water on the remaining days of lessons. Three days and we schedule an extra make-up day.
We do try to make-up for illness or family emergency, especially if more than 2 days are missed. In this case, let us know right away; not only will we use your spot for a similar make-up, but we will begin planning your make-up right away.
If you have an unavoidable conflict, and you notify us ahead of time, it is possible (not probable) that there is a class at a different time of day your child can attend for that one day.
We use email for most of our communication.
If your child tends to get cold in the water, or especially if you are coming to lessons early in the season or early in the day, we highly recommend the child’s wet suit. They keep the body core warm, leave the arms free to stroke properly, have adjustable straps to ensure a good fit for up to 2 years, and are inexpensive. Order directly from Warm Belly by calling 1-888-warm kid or visit their website at www.warmbelly.com. Please mention BRA.
Ask For Your Parent Manual:
Our Parent Manual is available free of charge to all new clients. It contains lots of good information about lessons and how to reinforce what your child is learning. Please ask your teacher if you are interested in getting a copy.
We don’t offer classes for infants, but YES, they can learn to swim (sort of), even well before age two. If you would like BRA's 1 page Pointers for Teaching Very Young Swimmers, just call or e-mail and request it.