FAQs

What is taught?
The Swim and Learn program focuses on attempting to teach your child to swim independently on top of the water. Safety in and around the water is stressed. Basic Christian principles are practiced and Coach Sally prays with the children before each class.

Are parents required to stay?
A parent of children enrolled in a Parent/Tot class is required to be in the water with the child. In all other children’s classes, at least one parent per class is required to stay as a safety observer. However, all parents are encouraged to stay and observe lessons so that they are able to continue working with their child using the same techniques and verbal cues when they are practicing away from class.

How many students are in a class?
Details are provided in the Fee/Payment table.  Children's group classes are limited to groups of 4 students to allow Coach Sally time to work with each child individually during the class.  Any exception to this limit is made only after agreement by all parents in the group and Coach Sally.

What is a class package?
Class packages vary depending on the option offered.  A class package generally consists of 5 classes.   On weeks where there is a holiday, the session may be reduced to 3 or 4 class days as published in the Classes schedule.  See Class Information for details.

How much time is actually spent in the water during class?
While each class is 45 minutes long, some time is spent poolside talking about safety in and around the water. For group classes, actual time in the water is generally 40 minutes.

How are classes set up?
We will schedule the date and time options you have indicated on your registration form, when possible, or will contact you about other options if your requested dates/times are not available.  A registration form submitted through this website will be required before any child is registered for a class.  We will select a specific class for your child based on groupings that match age and skill levels of the students in the class.  If there are problems with scheduling within the date/time selections you have indicated, we will notify you either by phone or by email of the options available.  We will send you a registration confirmation by email, including the dates that deposits and fees are due.   See Registration Information for more details and to access the form.

What if I can’t get a session that I want?
If we are unable to schedule the time you have indicated as one of your choices, we will notify you by phone or email of the options that are available to you.  This may include sessions or times outside your requested date or time range. We may also be able to offer you the opportunity to be on a waiting list for the preferred session when the age/skill level of that class is appropriate for your child.

How does Swim and Learn decide the skill level of a class slot?
The skill level of a class is determined by the age and skill level of the first child registered for that date and time. Classes are more effective when the children are grouped according to like age and skill levels. To review the Skill Level table, click here.

What should the student wear to class?
Appropriate swimwear is recommended for ease of movement in the water. “Swimmies” or suits with built-in flotation should not be worn.  It is recommended that all students wear swim goggles that do not cover the nose. All students with long hair should have hair secured away from the face. Children coming to Parent-Tot class must be in a swim diaper.

What if we miss a class?
There are times when unexpected emergencies arise.  We ask that you notify us as soon as possible by calling 904-215-9811.  When notification of a need to miss class is made in advance of class, an attempt will be made to arrange a make-up class.  Please review the Fee/Payments section of this website for more details about cancellations, particularly related to refunds.

What if there is bad weather at the time of class?
If it is raining and there is no indication of thunder and lightning, classes will be held.  If there is thunder and lightning in the immediate area and Swim and Learn staff feels the risk is too great, the class will be canceled. An attempt will be made to reschedule all classes that are canceled due to weather. 

Where are the lessons given?
Lessons are given at Coach Sally's private residence and the address is 560 Laurel Grove Lane, Orange Park, FL, 32073. Lessons are given in a heated, outdoor pool.  Click here for a map and driving instructions.

How early can I register?
You may register beginning Wednesday, March 1, 2017 and may register throughout the spring and summer.  It is important to know that classes are filled on a first come, first served basis and, with the small class sizes, they fill up quickly, so it is better to sign up early!  Please go to Class Information for lesson dates and times.  We also have an updated, easy Skill Level tool to assist you in deciding the swimmer's current skill level. Class skill levels are determined by those who sign up first, so it is recommended that you register at the earliest opportunity to increase the chance that your desired dates and times are available.

How often and how many classes are recommended?
Coach Sally believes children learn better and progress faster with a consecutive, daily instruction as opposed to individual single classes. Therefore, Swim and Learn is structured to provide group lessons as a class package of 4 to 5 consecutive days. After the initial classes, it is recommended that the child practice the skills learned for a minimum of 2 weeks before scheduling the next set of classes.  Children can usually advance 3-4 levels with a couple of lesson sets per summer.  For older children and adults taking private lessons, it is recommended that 3 or 4 lessons be scheduled supplemented by practice sessions on your own between classes.

How old should my child be to start swimming lessons?
Tots can begin with water familiarization classes as soon as they are able to hold their head up and control head movement. The more time any child spends in the water, the more comfortable they will be in the water, and have more of a desire to learn. Swim and Learn offers Parent Tot classes for children up to the age of 3.   At the age of 3, it is recommended that they are enrolled in our group swim classes.

How long will it take my child to learn how to swim?
Many variables go into how quickly your child learns to swim. Variables such as their level of comfort in the water, their age, and previous experience in the water impact their progress. Coach Sally has found that most children can advance their skill level and learn basic swim skills within a week when they actively and attentively participate in class.

What if my child has extreme anxiety or other physical or emotional limitations?

In instances where a student has a known physical, emotional or behavioral limitation that may be a barrier to their participation in class, Coach Sally encourages an evaluation session that will allow her an opportunity to assess the student, establish a rapport with him or her, and establish a plan with the parents for the swim education.  If a child with a limitation is signed up for a group class, knowing about the limitation in advance helps Coach Sally structure the lesson and engage the student in a manner that will, hopefully, accommodate their situation and promote learning. Please see Fees/Payments for information about the charge for the Evaluation Session.

Regarding anxiety about being in the water, it isn't unusual for children to have mild anxiety when learning to swim; but, extreme anxiety can be a significant barrier, particulary in a group class setting. Previous negative experiences with water can create high anxiety for children and sometimes set the stage for emotional outbursts that aren't easily managed in a group class environment and can fuel angst for all children in the class.  

Coach Sally feels strongly that patience and a gradual, but firm, introduction to the swim lesson is important to prevent high anxiety from transitioning to stark fear.  She will never force a fearful or distressed child into the water to participate. She may ask the child to sit outside of the pool to watch and finds that not focusing on the child helps them regain composure. There may be times, also, when she asks the parent to step out of the child's eyesight to help them calm down. Often, as the child observes others having success in the water, they become more receptive and more willing to participate.  It may take 2-3 lessons for a fearful child to become comfortable enough to begin to participate.  As the child becomes more receptive, Coach Sally will engage him accordingly. Coach Sally does not typically advise a parent to withdraw a child from class for non-participation, particulary early in the week. If pulled out of classes early, the child may never get the opportunity to make that transition to receptiveness and participation and may promote a longer-term fear and resistance to learning to swim.

Coach Sally feels that learning to swim is a life skill that is necessary for every child and adult.  Fearfulness or emotional outbursts should not be a reason to allow a child to not learn to swim.  It is important that your child know that you are committed to the importance of this skill, just as you are committed to their safety in the car by requiring they wear seat belts even when they resist. While their resistance may cause you the parent some angst, it is extremely important to demonstrate patience and commitment. Your encouragement that he has the ability to succeed is important when it comes to overcoming water fears.

We have a bibliography of articles that we will be happy to supply you related to the topic of fearful children.  Just email us with your request.