4 April - 10 June
This 8 lesson set will be very similar to the Winter set, running once a week for 4 weeks - then a 1 week break - then once a week for 4 weeks again. An extra week has been put aside again at the end for makeup lessons, which worked very well during the Winter set as it allowed for some flexibility in the case of pool closures or instructor illness.
Lessons take a child led approach, working at each swimmers' own pace, using a variety of equipment, games and activities to build comfort, confidence and competence in the water. Lessons are fun, calm, encouraging, and swimmers progress on to new skills as soon as they are ready. Lifesaving Society program available by request, though we focus on survival swimming skills first.
Fernie Aquatic Center (FAC)
Wednesdays 11 am - 2.30 pm
Fridays 3.30 pm - 7 pm
Friday lessons will run in the main pool, but if there is space we may end the lesson in the leisure pool for younger/sensitive swimmers who are getting chilly.
Recommended for Swimmer 1-2 or confident/main pool preschoolers during the earlier times, and we may have enough space to challenge Swimmer 3-5 during the later times too.
Click here for swim level guide.
Wednesday lessons are more flexible as it's quieter, except for school groups potentially coming to play from 1-2.30pm, so the main pool would be best during this time. *NEW* Toddler classes will now be offered at FAC on Wednesdays too :)
Recommended for Swimmer 1-5 or any preschoolers during the earlier times, and Swimmer 1-5 or confident/main pool preschoolers during the later times.
Lessons run during public swimming times, wherever there is space - no lane rental is available. Facility entrance fees must be paid at the front desk as usual, and parents/guardians must remain present for swimmers under 7 years (as a spectator or patron). While we have their agreement, there is no affiliation whatsoever with Fernie Aquatic Center or the City of Fernie (running under their NESUP agreement now).
Canada's Best Value Inn (CBVI)
Tuesdays 3.30 pm - 7 pm
Saturdays 11 am - 2.30 pm
This hotel pool in Fernie (near Bridge Bistro) is similar to the size of a backyard pool, approximately 8m x 4m and heated up to around 32 degrees Celsius (similar to the Leisure Pool at Fernie Aquatic Center). There are deck chairs for viewing, two change rooms with showers, and parking right outside the door. Parents (and siblings) can use the hot tub during lesson time too, or for a warm up after lessons!
It is suitable for beginner swimmers only, up to around Swimmer 2, or any Preschool level (or any ability for swimmers with disabilities or those who require a more sensory friendly space).
Toddler classes are back! These classes focus on building comfort and confidence, along with sensory and developmentally appropriate skills to introduce little ones to the love of water. They also aim to equip caregivers (no matter their own swim ability) with skills and routines to take with them to continue spending time in the water with their infants outside of lesson time too.
It is mostly private, though occasionally hotel guests may use the pool too. Hotel pool usage fees are paid in advance along with registration, at $5 per swimmer for privates/semi-privates and $3,50 per toddler.
There is a non-refundable registration fee ($20 first child, $15 second child, $10 third child - maximum $40 per family), which is put towards the immense time it takes for this solo human to plan and complete registration, plan lessons, secure seasonal pool spaces, daily set up/set down, professional development, sick days, administration, and provide feedback/tracking/booklets.
Semi-Private one-on-two lessons (3 years+) include 2 swimmers of similar age and ability (either book with a sibling/friend, or request a match). The cost is $28 per swimmer per lesson plus relevant registration fee, GST (5%) and pool entrance. Experience has shown that most swimmers enjoy having a peer to learn with, and pairing with a close match in ability can really help drive progress and build confidence. A lot of time and consideration is taken when selecting a match for your swimmer.
Private one-on-one lessons (3 years +) are only available by request, such as for swimmers with diverse learning needs, high risk behaviors, or disabilities. The cost is $48 per lesson plus relevant registration fee, GST (5%) and pool entrance. All abilities are welcome and can be tailored to suit each swimmers' needs and learning preferences.
Toddler small group classes (1-4 years) include 6 swimmers and their parent/guardian. Classes will be divided according to availability, age/size and ability/confidence level - roughly 1-2 years, 2-3 years and 3-4 years (who are not quite ready to join private lessons independently yet). The cost is $18 per swimmer per lesson plus relevant registration fee, GST (5%) and pool entrance.
Funding Options. If your swimmer has funding for homeschooling physical education, e-Streams, SelfDesign, disability funding (such as BC Autism funding) or similar, please let me know and we can arrange direct invoicing and billing (paid upfront if you're able, then refunded upon approval). If your family is struggling to make ends meet at this time (like mine is), please click the Community Page for kids sports grants that you may be able to apply for.
How to Register
Pre-registration will open at 8pm on Thursday 16th March, when a link with appear in the green box at the top of this web page, which will take you to a Google form to fill out. It takes 3-5 minutes to complete and will likely book out within the first half hour or less. Pre-registration will close at 10am Friday 17th March. Neurodivergent swimmers, swimmers with disabilities and other vulnerable or high-risk swimmers (that affect their ability to participate and be included in group lessons) will be prioritized as best as possible.
After you complete your pre-registration form, your details will be added into my tetris-game-of-color-coded-excel-spreadsheets to match swimmers, and place in their availability (back-to-back siblings if possible). By the end of the weekend you will receive an email either offering you a lesson time, or letting you know you missed out this set.
If you are offered a lesson time, you will receive a link to our Jackrabbit Swim booking site, where you can complete your family registration (or log back in), enroll into your lesson time, complete waivers/policies and send e-transfer payment. This must be completed within 24 hours to secure your lesson booking - NO EXCEPTIONS this time please, as there will be a short turnaround before lessons start.
Please keep in mind that the Fernie pool will open their group lesson registration for their next set on March 13, so feel free to try your luck there first (if group lessons meet your child's needs). If you decide to cancel, I'm sure someone else will happily take your place in a minute flat. While you can of course choose to double up on lessons if you get so lucky, but I would ask that you consider whether choosing only one will allow another child the opportunity to learn to swim too.
*NEW* If you would like to match your swimmer with a friend/cousin of similar age/ability, you may now select one parent/guardian to pre-register on behalf of both swimmers. Then if you get a spot, each parent/guardian will complete enrollment and payment separately. Otherwise you can still pre-register separately, and include the second swimmer's name on your form.
Spring is on the way! It feels like it has been all Winter....
While I cannot confirm the days and dates just yet, I at least wanted to provide you with the details I can, as well as update you as to why pre-registration hasn't been opened just yet, while I keep working hard to make it happen.
Unfortunately there are still severe staff shortages at both pools, so public swim times in the main pools have been reduced even further this year, especially during after school times and weekends. For Sparwood pool, the only sessions longer than 2 hours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-4.30pm, and the last 3 sets it was offered have shown there is not enough demand to fill these times, so it will not be offered again for the Spring set. For Fernie pool, Sundays are still closed for now, and Monday-Thursdays afterschool the main pool is rented out to the Dolphins (with 1 lane for adult lane swim), so only the Leisure Pool is available. This leaves Friday afternoons and Saturdays as the only times school kids can access the main pool, which has proven to be an incredibly challenging time to run lessons as most weeks it has been overwhelmingly busy in there. We have been struggling to find enough space to suitably challenge swimmers and keep them safe, while weaving in and out around other patrons, dodging boats, balls and struggling to hear each other speak. The overstimulating sensory environment has not been ideal or suitable for many swimmers, including myself, and does not provide the kind of learning environment I would like to provide to young learners.
A 15 page proposal was submitted last Fall detailing the huge demand and need for private swim lessons and why we need to prioritize vulnerable populations and swimmers with disabilities at Fernie pool, including community feedback from families with kids on the Autism spectrum. While the option to resume teaching in public swimming areas like last Winter was granted (now under the Non-Exclusive Seasonal Use Program), the request to rent a lane to teach lessons was denied before the proposal was read and considered. A second request was made recently to rent a lane in the leisure pool or main pool, after putting forward the safety concerns we have been facing (including multiple swimmers being hit in the head with boats last week), but it was once again denied, due to there "already being a lack of public space at the pool". The opportunity to continue to offer parented lessons (for under 3 year olds) to small groups of four infants was also denied twice, due to it "taking up too much space".
Around 30% of swimmers this set have a disability or medical condition, and if I chose to advertise further, I'm sure this number would be even higher. Children on the Autism spectrum are 160 times more likely to drown than their neurotypical peers, so they will continue to be prioritized in our registration process, along with other vulnerable populations who have another disability or condition that limits or excludes them from being able to participate or succeed in group lessons. As someone who supports a disabled partner who has chronic health conditions plus Autism/ADHD/c-PTSD (late diagnosed only last year) and more, I just want ONE thing to be easier on families who provide so much unpaid labor and time advocating for the rights of the person they love.
I'm not giving up yet, but it does mean that the next set will have less after school options, as I want to offer the most safe and suitable options I can for for swimmers to learn in. Tuesday-Fridays during the day is the most reasonable time we can safely run lessons, and possibly in the leisure pool in the afternoon too. I'll try my best to keep either Fridays or Saturdays too, but they are the absolute busiest. I understand that for some families, Saturdays are their only option due to work commitments, travelling from another town (as there's still no private lessons available across the valley), or due to this meeting their child's needs (as attending school then going to swim lessons can be too overwhelming to do on the same day). This would also be the most suitable day to rent a lane, as only 1 lane is closed off for adult lane swim, so there is still a 5 lane open space available to the public (same as Friday afternoons/late evening). I still have hope that the decision to deny lane rental will be reconsidered for the Fall, or that community feedback will be requested to inform this decision further.
Why Pre-registration? The reason for pre-registration is that it allows for siblings to be placed back-to-back, allows single swimmers to be matched with another swimmer of similar age and ability, with the same availability, and allows prioritized swimmers (who often have no other accessible options) to have a chance to participate too. There is huge benefit from having a good match, as it often results in a more fun experience, encourages swimmers to challenge themselves more, creates faster progress, and helps to build confidence too. The final reason is that some families have very limited availability, or are travelling from the South Country, so I try my best to accommodate those who would normally miss out on swim lessons for this reason.
Who can participate? Swimmers 3 years+ can participate in private or semi-private lessons, preferably who are confident enough to leave the clutches of their parent/guardian already, though parents/guardians can stick around if need be. Swimmers who are too often left without suitable options to meet their needs are especially welcome to join, including neurodivergent swimmers, swimmers with disabilities or delays (diagnosed or suspected), high risk swimmers, Indigenous swimmers, and 2SLGBTQIA+ swimmers. For example, studies show that Autistic children are up to 160 times more likely to drown than their neurotypical peers, so it is important that we as a community support those who are most vulnerable and in need of swim lessons right away.
Looking for a Match? If you are asking family or friends to find a match for your swimmers, please keep in mind that usually anything more than a 2 year age gap will result in a different ability. Questions you will be asked on your pre-registration form will include - can they float independently, are they comfortable putting their face/ears/head underwater yet, how far can they swim unassisted, can they swim on their front and back, etc. If you don't know their swim level, this is a good guide to see if they have a similar ability, especially if they haven't participated in formal lessons yet or it's been a while.
Cancellation Policy. Semi/private lesson sets are non-refundable, and no makeup lessons are currently available (due to restricted pool schedules) beyond the makeup lesson week at the end, this includes if 1 swimmer out of 2 cannot attend. With 48 hours notice AND in extenuating circumstances (such as serious injuries or emergencies), Mountain Kids Swim Lessons will endeavor to find a replacement for your lesson in order to provide a refund, with no guarantees. If the Instructor needs to cancel for any reason; lessons will be rescheduled to the makeup week, or a refund given if more than one lesson needs to be rescheduled.
Any questions? After checking this page for your answers first, please email any questions to Sarah at
New for 2023
Mountain Kids Swim Lessons is now the first Autism Swim approved provider in Western Canada!
Building on my experience working as a Behaviour Interventionist with kids on the spectrum, as well as teaching swimming to nearly a dozen more over the last few years, this professional development training has reinforced my learning and added more skills and approaches to my toolbelt. A more detailed intake form will be provided to kids with Autism and other diverse learning needs in the future to get a better understanding of their needs, as well as access to further resources such a social stories and visuals.