Park District offers summer swimming lessons
By Doug Halberstadt
A few years back, my brother and his wife had a nice, large, in-ground swimming pool installed in their back yard. Every summer since, our family has enjoyed many hot summer hours lounging and swimming in that pool.
I recall during that first summer my youngest daughter Meredith wasn’t able to touch the bottom of their pool. She was timid and often spent most of the time in the water, clinging to me or to the sides of the pool. That was then.
Time has certainly changed things. Now, it’s like she has evolved into Flipper. She’s constantly underwater, diving for submerged pool toys. Or, it’s, “Hey, Dad, watch me do this handstand!” This year, she can actually swim from one end of the pool to the other. It’s a good feeling for a parent to have a child who is comfortable around water.
If your child hasn’t gotten to that point, I’d like to suggest this be the summer you give them the gift of swimming lessons. You won’t regret it.
The Rockford Park District offers an enhanced swimming lesson program with a quality format, while emphasizing fun for your children. The primary goal of their program is to teach young children to swim well enough to be safe in and around the water, and to introduce fundamental swimming skills. Lessons are offered at Alpine, Harkins and Sand Park pools.
Bubble Club (6 months-age 3) includes basic water orientation skills led by a Park District instructor, but taught by you. Parents must accompany children in the water. Taught in the main pool, this is a great opportunity for parents and toddlers to enjoy the water together. The primary goal is to get young children more comfortable around the water and to begin learning critical skills of the Learn to Swim program.
Tiny Tots (ages 3-5) is a continuation of Bubble Club; however, parents are not in the water, but close by. In this level, children learn supported floats and basic locomotion. Your child will also learn to feel safe in the water without parents. This program is primarily taught in the wading pool with lots of toys and games.
Learn to Swim (ages 5-17)—In this program, children begin learning foundational swimming skills, and ultimately how to swim by themselves. On the first day of class, students are placed in the most appropriate of five levels, based on the swimmer’s ability. Children must be able to enter the water and participate on their own. Each level has a specific set of objectives to achieve before moving to the next level. Classes are taught in the main pool in at least 4 feet of water. All levels are taught in a positive and fun atmosphere. Levels 1 through 4 include water exploration, primary skills, stroke readiness and stroke development. Level 5 will emphasize stroke refinement and prepare youth for higher levels of swimming.
Just in case you’ve reached adulthood and still are a little sketchy on your own swimming skills, the Rockford Park District also offers an adult Learn to Swim program. Contact the Aquatics Office at (815) 987-8793 for more information.
There still are plenty of hot days to come this summer. Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy them in a cool, refreshing pool? I can guarantee it’s even more fun when your child gets comfortable in the water and yells, “Hey, Dad, watch this!”
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the July 7-13, 2010 issue
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