Children of all ages, particularly babies and toddlers, often have a love/hate relationship with water. They may love the pool, but hate taking a bath. The best way to get your child comfortable with being in the water is to take him or her to swimming lessons, but where? Queens Mamas has done the research for you, to help you make your decision on which classes work the best for your family.
NY Parks Department
The New York City Parks Department offers a Learn to Swim program with free, yes FREE, swimming lessons for children as young as three years old. Entry into the program is through a random lottery. For 24 hours, starting on January 29th 2011 at 12am midnight through to midnight January 30th, you can enter the lottery on their website. You can also call 311 for more information on the program. If your child is selected, the lessons in Queens will be held at Roy Wilkins Recreation Center at 177th Street and Baisely Boulevard, starting in February and running through the end of April. The swimming locations vary by borough. To find the one nearest you, visit www.nyc.gov/parks/citywideaquatics.
Queens College Aquatics Center
The Queens College Aquatics Center also offers a Red Cross certified Learn to Swim program with eight levels of swimming experience, including a Tiny Tot program, designed for kids ages four and five, that is held in the shallow end of the pool on elevated platforms. The Aquatics Center offers six month and yearly membership plans, ranging in price from $230-$380. The pool is located at 65-30 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, N.Y. Pool hours change every four months, so for an updated schedule, call the Aquatics Department at 718-997-2767. For more information on pool membership, call the Recreation Department at 718-997-2777.
Take Me to the Water
If you’re looking for a swimming class for a child younger than four, be sure to check out Take Me to the Water Swim School, where they have a class for children as young as six months old. As a member of the United States Swim School Association, the instructors at this school are regularly attending seminars and conferences to keep updated on new teaching techniques. They also offer private classes for special needs children, as well as those with hydrophobia. Classes are currently being held, and they offer rolling admission, where you only pay for the classes left in the semester. With locations all over Manhattan, New Jersey, Brooklyn, and Queens, you’re bound to find one close to you, like the one in the Forest Hills Jewish Center, 106-06 Queens Boulevard. For a full schedule and for pricing, call 888-794-6692.
Long Island City YMCA
The Long Island City YMCA, located at 32-23 Queens Boulevard, offers swimming classes for children as young as nine months old. The classes are held usually on Saturdays, and some Sundays. Members pay $90 and non members pay $135 for eight weeks of classes. For more information or to register, call 718-392-7932.
Flushing Meadows Aquatic Center
Did you know there’s a pool in Flushing Meadows Park? Well, there is. USA Pools of New York have an aquatic center there, and offer various Learn to Swim programs, with one for Tiny Tots, ages six months to five years old. Classes run for ten weeks, and cost $125 for members and $175 for non members. Be sure to call them about the free swim test, which you need to schedule before registering – 718-271-7572, ext. 221.
Swim Strong Foundation
The Swim Strong Foundation, a not for profit organization dedicated to teaching kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle through the structure of swimming, both competitively and for exercise, also offers classes ranging from Get Ready, Get Wet to developmental classes teaching specific strokes. Their classes are held at the Aquatic Center in Flushing Meadows Park, and at Far Rockaway High School. For more information on the foundation, visit www.theswimstrongfoundation.org or call 646-269-7897 to make your appointment.
The Forest Hills Community House
This small community center located in the Forest Hills Gardens has year round swimming classes and open swim sessions for children of all ages. For more information visit their website.
The benefits of swimming stretch far beyond just getting your kids used to the water. The discipline involved will transcend all levels of your child’s life – from performance in school to their social relationships. With all the choices here, you’re sure to find the right one for your child.