Everything's Swimming at the Y!

Posted in Summer Camps, Family Fun

Learning to swim in a friendly, caring environment

There’s a reason why the Y is referred to as America’s Favorite Swim Instructor. In a Y class, you are not only taught in a caring way how to swim, but you also learn about yourself, about safety and rescue skills, and about water activities you can enjoy for a lifetime.

Parent-Child I — Ages 6 to 18 months
In our Parent-Child I classes for ages 6 to 18 months the primary objective is to get both the parent and child comfortable in the water. Children will become aware of the differences of moving through water and on dry land while parents gain awareness of how to teach children to be safe in and around water. Classes are limited to 30 minutes and designed to allow the child to have fun in the water while the parent guides him or her to learn aquatic skills. Children are exposed to games that use basic movements in the water, such as kicking, arm strokes and breath control. Activities are based on the development abilities of the child. Ideally children’s first experiences in the water are with trusted adults who are willing to have fun and play with them.

Parent-Child II — Ages 18 to 36 months
We also have Parent-Child II classes for children ages 18 to 36 months who are not ready to be away from their parent while in the water. This is a social readiness that varies from child to child. The instructor leads parents through a routine of games and skills where they are all doing the same thing at the same time and taking cues from the instructor. Then the instructor leads the children while parents step back so their kids get used to listening to another adult and taking cues from them. This works to transition kids to classes where they will be without their parents.

Preschool Program — Ages 3 to 5 years old
In our Preschool program for 3 to 5 year olds, children have their first experience in the pool without parental assistance in a 30 minute class lead by a trained, certified instructor. The children are taught basic skills that are the building blocks of swimming. They also learn about pool safety, boating safety and the use of life jackets. The Y program is based on student centered learning where students are guided through exploration and learn from play as well as instruction. Many kinds of flotation devices are introduced that aid beginners and are instrumental in their success. Children experience an immense amount of pride when they learn to overcome a fear. Swimming, beyond the specific skills taught, is a tool that the Y uses to help kids develop character and self-esteem, improve personal and family relationships, appreciate diversity and become better leaders and supporters.

School Age Programs — Ages 5+
Create friendships and gain confidence whether you are a beginner or an advanced swimmer. Youth lessons progress through 6 levels from Polliwog to Shark. Classes are designed to teach school-aged children personal growth, personal safety, stroke development, water sports and games, and rescue skills for beginner through advanced levels. Skills mastery required before advancement to the next level.

More information about swim levels

Swim Program Registration Click a link below to register for Swim Lessons.

When you arrive at the results page after clicking a link, select a YMCA branch using the "Site" filter to narrow the results.

Register for Swim Lessons - Adult
Register for Swim Lessons - Parent & Child
Register for Swim Lessons - Preschool
Register for Swim Lessons - Private
Register for Swim Lessons - Youth
Register for Swim Team

How to Help Your Child Prepare
  • Take your child swimming at the same place they are going to have lessons to adjust to the building, pool, noise, water temperature, etc.
  • Smile and be enthusiastic, even if your child is not, and reassure him with affection.
  • Allow reluctant children more time to get used to the water and move at a slower pace.
  • Give her lots of praise and positive encouragement.
  • Parents keep your own shoulders under the water most of the time, blow bubbles and get your own face wet. You are the example for your child. If you can’t do this, have another trusted adult work with your child.
  • Provide colorful floating toys as a distraction and a special swim suit that is only worn to the pool.
  • Teach your child to spit water out of his mouth rather than swallowing it.
  • Keep pool time to no more than 30 minutes, working up to a bit more only after she has developed self-confidence and some water skills.
  • Never try to trick him into doing a skill and don’t make a promise you can’t keep. Tell her you will keep her safe but water might splash up onto her face, eyes or head - but that’s OK, it’s just like rain drops!
  • Cool his bath water down to be more like pool water temp and introduce sinking as well as floating toys. Buy some goggles and look at the toys on the bottom. Bring a straw into the water and blow bubbles with it. Ring a brass bell or click a clicker under the water and have him put his ears in to hear it. Make a rain shower with a spigot strainer.
  • Laugh with your child, be silly and play. In other words, have fun!
How to Know If They're Ready

Are swimming lessons for children ages 1 to 4 a good idea? A new medical study says yes.

It found that children who have formal swim lessons at these young ages are less apt to drown compared to children who have not. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says all children should be taught to swim after age 5. The AAP does not have a recommendation for or against swimming lessons for children under 5.

Swim lessons teach skills that can help prevent drowning, like floating on one’s back and treading water. If you want your child to learn to swim at a very young age, find a trusted program designed for your child’s age group and readiness. Big, noisy pools can be scary for some young children. If your little one hates swim lessons, it probably makes sense to wait a year. Keep in mind that skilled swimmers of all ages can drown.

Never leave your child alone near water, even if they’ve had swim lessons.

Source: Seattle Children’s Hospital – reprinted with permission.

Get 1st Priority for swim lessons!

Get 1st Priority

As a Y member, you can register for swim lessons in advance of open registration and get priorty.

Not a Y member?
Click here to get information on becoming a member.