When it comes to the question of when a child should start swimming lessons, the answers are as diverse as you might expect, but, in the opinion of Foss Swim School opening this month in Ankeny, there isn’t a single answer.
“What’s important to remember is that learning to swim is a process,” says co-founder Susan Foss. “While there are great benefits to getting started early, parents know what is best for their family. We want parents and swimmers to laugh and learn together.”
FOSS lessons start as early as 6 months and offer beginner levels for all age groups. Because their Backfloat Baby® classes require an adult in the water, it is important to have mom, dad, or another adult on board for the weekly lessons designed for little swimmers age 6 months to 3 years.
CDC data shows taking part in formal swim lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years. Foss offers beginner levels for all age groups to realize the benefits:
· They are able to gain an introduction to lessons with the added comfort of having mom or dad (grandma, grandpa, or another trusted caregiver…) right there with them.
· They are given a very early introduction to the fundamental skills taught in the older levels and mistakes can be fixed before they have a chance to become bad habits.
· They are given the opportunity to form safe habits (walking on the pool deck, proper entry/exit, how to react if they fall in the water, etc.) at an earlier age.
“The window of opportunity to learn to swim well begins to close at age 6 and is almost completely closed by age 11,” says Foss.
What can a baby learn?
“You will be amazed what babies and toddlers are capable of in the water!” said Foss.
Foss’ Backfloat Baby® program is designed to acclimate the youngest students to the water and eventually help them to transition into independent classes more successfully. Graduates of the Backfloat Baby® program will have learned:
· Independent swimming for short distances with no floatation
· Independent back float
· Flipping from front to back with assistance
· Independently entering water over their head and safely climbing out
· A joy and healthy respect of the water!
What if my baby doesn’t like the water?
One of the reasons Foss starts lessons at 6 months is that, in most cases, a fear of the water has not set in. By getting ahead of it and introducing water adjustment in a safe and baby-friendly environment, odds are good your child will develop a healthy respect and love of the water rather than fear.
Swim Lessons: More than a skill – a lifelong gift
Founders Jon and Susan Foss are parents as well as swim educators, taking a broad view of swimming and how it changes lives – not only improving safety and well-being but as a source of fun and healthy activity. Even better, they say it is an activity that brings families together.
How to sign up
Online enrollment is open now. Summer quarter begins on June 15 with private and semi-private classes being offered. Note that Foss is taking extra steps to create a safe environment for families and staff. New families that enroll before August 17 with the code ANK125 in your enrollment notes will receive $50 off your first quarter enrollment ($50 off per family), new family fee waived ($35 value), receive a FOSS tote bag, FOSS towel & choice of FOSS goggles or swim diaper ($40 value). Visit the website or call 515-724-7946 for more information.
Connect with Foss Swim School
2455 SW State Street, Suite 101, 50023