With the final set of Fall swim lessons coming to a close on December 8th, it's time to get ready for Xmas break swim lessons! There will be two sets running concurrently for two weeks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (December 20, 21, 27 and 28) at Sparwood Recreation and Leisure Center, and on Thursdays and Fridays (December 22, 23, 29 and 30) at Fernie Aquatic Center. These sets of 4 lessons will run at 1.00pm, 1.30pm, 2.00pm, 3.00pm, 3.30pm and 4.00pm. Winter Set 1 lessons will likely start early January, with details to be confirmed as soon as the pool schedules have been released.
Both Sparwood and Fernie lesson sets run twice a week for 2 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. There is a non-refundable registration fee ($15 first child, $10 second child, $5 third child - maximum $25 per family), which is put towards the immense time it takes for this solo human to complete registration, plan lessons, set up/set down, provide feedback and complete administration.
Swimmers must be minimum 3 years of age, all abilities welcome, and must be able to attend all 4 lessons in the set.
Lessons at the Sparwood Pool will run in the main pool, starting at the shallow areas and moving deeper depending on their ability level - we meet at the shallow end near the ramp. There are 3 public swim times from 11am until 5pm on lesson days to be able to enjoy the pool before or after with your family. Facility entrance fees must be paid at the front desk as usual.
Lessons at the Fernie Pool will run in the main pool, starting at the shallow end and moving deeper depending on their ability level - we meet at the shallow end near the change room exit. We may end the lesson in the leisure pool for younger swimmers who are getting too chilly. There is 1 public swim time from 10am until 6pm on lesson days to be able to enjoy the pool before or after with your family. Facility entrance fees must be paid at the front desk as usual.
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 $24 per lesson ($96 per swimmer for 4 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 other disabilities. The cost is $42 per lesson ($168 for 4 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.
How to Register
Pre-registration will open at 9am on Sunday 4th December, when a link with appear at the top of this web page, which will take you to a simple Google form to fill out. It takes 3-5 minutes to complete and will likely fill up within the first half hour (maximum 24 swimmers this set). * Sparwood families will be prioritized for the Sparwood pool lessons (thanks for waiting for my return!) and I will also try to prioritize families who have missed out the last few sets, plus NEW neurodiverse swimmers, swimmers with disabilities and high-risk swimmers. Winter lessons will likely start in early January, so there's not long to wait for the next set.
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 Tuesday or Wednesday, 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 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.
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. Please make sure to ask your friends before registration opens so you can coordinate which times you are both available for, and then you can include their name on your form too.
Progress and Feedback. The most requested form of feedback was verbal or written at the end of the lesson set, or Mountain Kids Swim Lessons skills tracking (online on the Parent Portal), therefore we will not be offering Red Cross booklets this set (which will change to the Lifesaving Society in a month anyway). It's also too short of a set to complete booklets, but happy to discuss if you only have 1-3 skills left to complete a level. With 16+ skills in a level 1 class alone, I would prefer to work with swimmers to develop their confidence and competence in the water with a focus on survival swimming, rather than just tick off boxes, to better equip them to join group lessons later, if that's what you choose to do. A Red Cross and Lifesaving Society swim level recommendation will be provided on the last day, as well as skills and games ideas to continue practicing with your swimmers outside of lessons.
Funding and Cost. If your swimmer has funding for homeschooling physical education, e-Streams, disability funding (such as BC Autism funding) or similar, please let me know and we can arrange direct invoicing and billing (paid upfront, 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.