Posted by: Stephanie Johnson on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 9:00:00 am


The JCC Aquatics Department is pleased to offer a variety of different options for your child to learn to swim in. We offer both group lessons and private/semi private lessons 4 sessions a year. One of the questions we get asked the most is: which is the better choice for my child? Let’s get into the basics of each of the options.swim-lessons

Group lessons are small classes of students who are about the same level as each other. The program here at the JCC prides itself on offering a low student to instructor ratio of 4:1. We feel that this low student to instructor ratio allows us to hone in and focus on your child and their individual swimming needs. This program follows the American Red Cross Learn to Swim program, which consists of a set of criteria for each level.  Parent child aquatics (ages 6 months to 2 and a half years) consists of 3 levels (Aquatots I, Aquatots II, Little Starfish). Preschool aquatics (ages 3 to 5 years) consists of 4 levels (Starfish, Seaponies, Dolphins, and Advanced Dolphins).  Youth Learn to Swim (ages 5-17 years) consists of 6 levels (Level 1-6). Group lesson classes at the JCC are 30 minutes and are held, depending on the session, for anywhere between 8-12 weeks (Fall and Winter sessions are longer than the Spring and Summer sessions). At the end of the session, students are evaluated in the check out skills for the specific level they are enrolled in. Successful completion of the check out skills means the student advances to the next level. For those that haven’t quite mastered the check out skills, they remain in their current level to fine tune and hone their skills for another session. The group lesson program is best for students who function well in the small group setting as well as those students who are visual learners.

Private and semi private lessons typically consist of 1 to 2 students (though we do allow up to 3 participants in semi private lessons) taught in half an hour sessions. These lessons are catered to the individual need of the student and allow the parent and the instructor to decide the set of skills the student will be working on in the session. This program is best suited for students who may need more individualized attention that the group lesson program cannot offer them. For example, a student who is struggling to master rotary breathing (breathing to one side) and cannot pass Level 2 until this skill is mastered could be enrolled in private lessons to help them learn the skill more quickly and therefore progress to the next level. This program is also excellent for those students who learn better on their own and with more attention and more emphasis on their individual swimming skills. While your time slot is assigned to you for the duration of the session (8-12 weeks in length given the session), you are not bound to complete the entire session. We require one week notice that you do not wish to continue; this allows us to assign the slot you are giving up to another family who has requested instruction.

It is not uncommon to have students transfer from program to program throughout the year, ie start in the private lesson program and switch to group, start in the group lesson program and switch to private. Many families utilize the private lesson program in the Spring and Summer months and transition their children to the group lesson program once the Fall program starts.

Ultimately, the answer to the question of group versus private is simple: which ever option your child is comfortable with! You, as parents or caretakers, ultimately know the needs, limitations, and learning style of your child. The Aquatics staff here at the JCC is more than happy to help and advise you to make the best decision possible for your child.

Check our Spring Group Lesson Schedule.


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