2023 - 2024 Swim Lesson Sets
Dates: 27 November until 22 December
Location: Canada's Best Value Inn, Fernie (Near Bridge Bistro)
Options: Semi-private lessons for beginners and beginner/intermediates (3 years and over), private lessons for swimmers with disabilities (3 years and over), family lessons for two siblings under 4 years with parent/guardian, and *NEW* beginner lessons for adults.
Dates: 10 January - 17 March
Location: Canada's Best Value Inn, Fernie (Near Bridge Bistro)
Options: Semi-private lessons for beginners and beginner/intermediates (3 years and over), private lessons for swimmers with disabilities (3 years and over), baby and toddler classes with parent/guardian (6 months - 3.5 years), family lessons for two siblings under 4 years with parent/guardian, and *NEW* beginner lessons for adults.
Registration: Now Open
Dates: 3 April - 9 June
Options: Semi-private lessons for beginners and beginner/intermediates (3 years and over), private lessons for swimmers with disabilities (3 years and over), baby and toddler classes with parent/guardian (6 months - 4 years), family lessons for two siblings under 4 years with parent/guardian, and *NEW* beginner lessons for adults.
Registration Opens: Late February
Dates: July and August (Dates TBC)
Location: Outdoors - Tie Lake (near Jaffray) and Waldo Cove (near Baynes Lake)
Options: Semi-private lessons for beginner/intermediates to intermediates (4 years and over), private lessons for swimmers with disabilities (4 years and over), intermediate and advanced small group classes, and Junior Lifeguard Club program.
Registration Opens: Spring Break
What do we offer?
Mountain Kids Swim Lessons focuses on a more simple, supported and individualized approach to lessons that is adapted to the open water environment of the lake. Lessons are tailored to your child's individual needs and goals, and will focus on the practice of safety and survival skills needed at the lake (such as floating, treading water, survival strokes, and knowing their limits), as well as stronger learning of the basics (such as gliding, movement and breath control), and moving towards stroke development and endurance. We focus on providing a child centered and kind approach to learning, while having fun out in the sun!
Outdoor swim lessons are offered every Summer in July at Tie Lake (near Jaffray) for beginner and beginner/intermediate swimmers, and in August at Waldo Cove (near Baynes Lake) for beginner/intermediate to advanced swimmers.
Just like our outdoor, open water lessons, the focus is on developing survival skills, confidence and endurance. Beginner swimmers will focus on getting comfortable in the water, while learning to float, hold their breath, blow bubbles and go underwater. They will practice swimming on their front and back, learn water safety skills, understand personal responsibility, and practice survival skills in the case of an unexpected fall into the water (including a clothed swim practice). Beginner/intermediate swimmers will focus on the same, while adding more distance or duration, increasing independence, practicing breath control, developing stroke efficiency and moving between front and back swim/float to increase their ability to self-rescue in an emergency. All swimmers will learn at their own pace and new skills or strokes will be introduced as soon as they show competency in the foundational basics.
Skills are taught in a positive, fun and self-paced manner to ensure competency and confidence in the basics first, rather than merely trying to just "tick off the boxes". We need to build a respectful and trusting relationship first, before swimmers will let me start to challenge them just beyond their limits, which is where real learning and progress is made.
Indoor lessons are offered in Fall, Winter and Spring at the hotel pool in Canada's Best Value Inn, Fernie, and at Fernie Aquatic Center depending on space or availability.
Who can participate?
Each season is a little different depending on availability of pool space or lake options.
Summer lessons are held in local lakes in the South Country, usually at Tie Lake and Waldo Cove, though we have also taught lessons at Edwards Lake too. We offer private and semi-private lessons, as well as small group lessons for intermediate and advanced swimmers, and hope to introduce Junior Lifeguard Club next Summer too. Lessons are suitable for swimmers over 4 years of age (too chilly for most 3 year olds) and are taught either 4 lessons in 1 week, or twice a week for 2 weeks, throughout July and August.
Spring and Fall seasons are predominantly held in the hotel pool at Canada's Best Value Inn, Fernie. This 4x8m pool is suitable for beginner and beginner/intermediate swimmers, and is especially ideal for swimmers with sensory challenges or who have difficulty focusing in overstimulating environments. We offer private and semi-private swim lessons to swimmers 3 years and over, with privates reserved for swimmers with additional needs. We also offer small group classes for babies and toddlers from 6 months to 4 years with their parent/guardian (Level 1 and Level 2), as well as family lessons for two siblings under 4 years with one parent/guardian. Lessons usually run once a week for 8 weeks, with a break week in the middle, and a makeup lesson week at the end. We teach 6-7 lessons a day, 4 days a week.
Winter lessons change each year depending on availability of pool space. Last year we operated solely at the Fernie Aquatic Center, though this was challenging due to frequent pool maintenance closures, private bookings, staff shortages and schedule changes. We have been requesting lane rental for 2 years, but have been denied due to there being "not much public swim space". We can operate only during public swim times "wherever there is space". but unfortunately, the only time the public can use the main pool outside school hours is Friday afternoons and Saturdays, when it is so busy we barely have a 5m strip available. Safety issues are a big concern too, such as balls being thrown at us, boats being launched at kids heads, equipment being taken by the public and not being able to hear the kids speak due to loud music being played all day. Considering the sensory challenges of myself and many of the kids I teach, this has not been a suitable environment for us as it is largely not accessible and very overwhelming. While we will keep advocating to make change in our community to be more inclusive and accessible to all, we have decided this year to offer Winter lessons at the hotel pool instead, and we are so grateful to Canada's Best Value Inn for deciding to allow us to continue into their busy ski season this year!
Financial challenges this year?
Mountain Kids Swim Lessons wants to support our community and aims to make quality swim lessons accessible to as many families as possible. If financial constraints are restricting your participation, please see the following options that may be of assistance:
Jumpstart Individual Child Funding for Sports - may be an option for your children 4 years and over. Click on the link to apply for a grant directly to request funding towards your lessons. Mountain Kids Swim Lessons will do what we can to fit their requirements and provide the paperwork they need.
Emily Brydon Youth Foundation - may be another option for youth in the Elk Valley (Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford). Click on the link to complete your application form. Let us know if Mountain Kids Swim Lessons can provide any assistance to complete this.
Mountain Kids Swim Lessons will also be happy to discuss reduced price places to support families that may otherwise not be able to participate due to financial hardship. Please email Sarah at email@example.com to discuss this further.
Other options? Please let us know if you discover any other funding options for kids in the Kootenays.
Mountain Kids Swim Lessons is now the first Autism Swim approved provider in Western Canada!
Building on my experience working as a Behaviour Interventionist/Support Worker with Autistic kids, being neurodivergent myself, as well as teaching swimming lessons to over 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. I am always ready to learn more ways to support kids in our community!
Prioritized swimmers including neurodivergent (Autistic, ADHD, etc.) and other high-risk and vulnerable populations are given a 24-hour boost to their registration every set. Autistic swimmers for example, are 160 times more likely to drown than their neurotypical peers, so it imperative they have access to swim lessons right away. Many swimmers with disabilities have little to no options in the valley to access swim lessons that meet their complex needs, so Mountain Kids Swim Lessons is doing their best to provide a calm environment and flexible learning options to help them thrive.
If you feel your child's neurotype, disability or medical condition limits their ability to participate in other aquatic options available in our community, please feel free to reach out to discuss their options further. Currently nearly half of the kids I teach are neurodivergent or have another disability, and funding can be used to pay for your lessons.