Winter Indoor Swim Lessons
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Can you believe 2023 is already here?!? Here's hoping it will be a smoother year for us all; full of love, joy and adventure.
Winter Indoor Lessons will be a little different than planned or as usual. Instead of two shorter sets, there will be one longer set - with a break week in the middle and a buffer week at the end. As we transition back to the aquatic centers for the ski season, we are at the whim of pool closures, exclusive bookings and schedule changes. With so many viruses circulating the last few months which led to the most absences we've had seen since the pandemic started, and getting sick twice myself, having some flexibility will be beneficial for us all.
This 8 lesson set will run once a week for 4 weeks - then a 1 week break - then once a week for 4 weeks again. The last week before SD5/IDES Spring Break (March 12-18/the week of TFA break) will be reserved for makeup lessons in the case that lessons are disrupted. Unfortunately there are still severe staff shortages at both pools, so public swim times in the main pools have been reduced even further this Winter. Please see full lesson dates in below table, and the times and days at Fernie Aquatic Center (Sparwood was cancelled due to low demand for daytime lesson options).
* Wednesday lesson times will run according to demand. There is no public access to the main pool for children at Fernie this Winter on Monday-Thursday afternoons, and they are still closed all day Sundays and before 3.30pm Mondays due to staff shortages.
Winter lessons run once a week for 8 weeks, and are 30 minutes in duration. 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.
Swimmers must be minimum 3 years of age (by day one of lessons), and must sign up for the whole 8 lessons. Any preschool ability welcome, and school age swimmers up to Swimmer 4/25 meter swim ability. Lessons run during public swimming times, wherever there is space - no lane hire is available. While we have their agreement, there is no affiliation whatsoever with Fernie Aquatic Center (running under NESUP agreement now).
Lessons at the Fernie Pool will mostly run in the main pool (unless indicated Leisure Pool Only, or daytime lessons for littles), starting at the shallow end and moving deeper depending on their ability level - we meet at the shallow end near the family change room exit. We may end the lesson in the leisure pool for younger swimmers who are getting too chilly. Facility entrance fees must be paid at the front desk as usual.
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 complete registration, plan lessons, secure seasonal pool spaces, daily set up/set down, complete administration, and provide feedback/tracking/booklets to swimmers.
Semi-Private one-on-two lessons include 2 swimmers of similar age and ability (book with a sibling/friend, or request a match). The cost is $28 per swimmer per lesson ($224 per swimmer for 8 lessons) plus relevant registration fee and facility entrance fee. 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 are only available by request, such as for swimmers with diverse learning needs, high risk behaviors, or disabilities. The cost is $48 per lesson ($384 for 8 lessons) plus relevant registration fee and facility entrance fee. All abilities are welcome and can be tailored to suit each swimmers' needs and learning preferences.
*NEW* This set you will now have the CHOICE to work towards Lifesaving Society swim levels (if you intend to join group swim lessons later), or focus more freely of survival swimming or choosing your own learning goals.
How to Register
Pre-registration will open at 8pm on Thursday 29th December, when a link with appear 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 fill up within the first half hour or less. Neurodivergent swimmers, swimmers with disabilities and high-risk swimmers 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 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 is a short turnaround until lessons start.
*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.
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. Swimmers who are too often left without suitable options to meet their needs are especially welcome to join, including neurodiverse 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), 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 if possible (most likely to March 12-18), or a refund given.
Funding and Cost. 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, or please email me as soon as possible to discuss sliding scale options,
Any questions? Please email any questions to Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.