With the weather warming up, we’re looking forward to pool season! Are your kids ready for a summer of fun? May is National Water Safety Month, what better time to enroll your kids in swim lessons to make sure they know how to splash safely? With so many places to take lessons, how do you choose? We’ve tried out Goldfish Swim School in Yorktown Heights and love the way it combines convenience with specialized swim training. Their brand-new facilities were designed to get kids in and out of the pool easily with smiles on their faces, all while learning water safety and swim strokes. And did I mention it’s the only place I’ve found where a two-year-old non-swimmer can take lessons independently? Stay dry in the viewing area while you cheer on your toddler!
We’ve taken classes for the past few months with our 2 year old and 4 year old. Here’s our review:
Goldfish Swim School in Yorktown Heights
This branch of the national Goldfish chain opened in January to much fanfare. The state-of-the-art facility inside the Triangle Shopping Center in Yorktown Heights, near My Gym, makes it easy to knock out lessons, grocery shopping (Acme is next door), and even takeout all in one outing. Designed with kids in mind, the school offers tons of private changing rooms, a blow dry station, bathing-suit dryers, separate private restrooms large enough for the whole family to cram into, and a poolside shower station so you can easily get everyone rinsed off after a lesson.
The pool is divided into lanes, with lessons taking place on the half hour at almost every skill level. The parent-and-me classes occupy a large area at the far end of the pool, away from the big kids. Kids as young as 2 can opt to go in the pool without a parent for independent group swim lessons. These feature a maximum 4-to-1 ratio. Since so many levels take classes at the same time, both my kids can get their lessons done in the same half hour even though they are in different class levels. This cuts our swim time in half, plus it’s so much easier to get them both showered and dressed at the same time.
Their swimming pool is glassed in on threes sides so parents can grab a chair on the viewing deck and watch the fun. If you come early or have non-swimmers with you, they can play on the soft mat next to the viewing area that features toys and books to occupy them. My kids love coming early so they can play here before class starts. There’s also a kid-sized snack table and charging stations.
Every swimmer is presented with a chart to track their skills. Once they complete all the skills in their level, they graduate to the next level. After each class, parents come to the pool deck to retrieve their swimmers and hear feedback from the instructor on which skills should be worked on for next week. Don’t have a pool to practice? No problem! Goldfish offers family swim times for a nominal fee to members and non-members.
The shiver-free 90-degree pool features a state-of-the-art water purification system, and any swimmers who aren’t potty trained are required to wear iPlay reusable swim diapers, one of the best brands for leak protection. Don’t worry about hunting one down, you can buy them in several colors and styles at the boutique. And your kids don’t have to wait for an enrollment period to begin classes. Goldfish’s Perpetual Lessons philosophy means your child can start classes at any time during the year and not have to worry about catching up.
Our two-year-old was a little nervous about swimming without mommy in the water, but with a little praise and encouragement from me on the pool deck (cue exaggerated clapping every time he looks over), he goes in by himself, follows the rules, waits for his turn, and loves his instructors.
My four-year-old is also blossoming. Having me 20 feet away behind glass helps her behavior. In our other swim school, parents sat poolside, and she used to act up because she knew I was watching. Now with me out of earshot and out of her eye line, she listens better to her instructor and doesn’t goof around when she’s waiting for her turn. Being able to stay dry myself while they swim makes the whole process so much easier for me because I don’t have to worry about drying off and getting dressed in the stall with them. It’s a true game changer!
For more information, visit their website or call 914-440-3330.
Or stop by on Friday, May 3 between 3pm and 6pm for Water Safety Day. This afternoon of family fun celebrates and promotes water safety with games, refreshments, swimming, swim promotions and even a local friendly competition in the pool! Bring your suit for the open swim times from 3:00 to 4:00pm and from 4:15 to 5:15pm. RSVP required. Click here for more info.
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