While we do teach some small group lessons and parent/child classes, at MWS we primarily teach private 20 minute swim lessons. We do this to provide the highest quality lessons possible. Each lesson is quality time spent with the kids we teach. We get to know how they communicate, their likes/dislikes, and their individual personalities.
When kids show up to learn how to swim they can fall into a few different categories.
- Energy: some kids are bouncing off the steps while others take it slow.
- Social: there are kids that want to talk your ear off and will share exactly how they are feeling and there are kids that wont say a word for multiple lessons.
- Confidence: they might be terrified to put their face in the water or ready to take on the whole pool
- Personality: some kids are slow to warm up to a new situation, others are able to handle new changes easily, and others react strongly
- Communication: because we work with all ages the level of communication can very greatly
When put into a group lesson, many children become bored, anxious, and/or disinterested because they are not getting the one on one attention that they need in order to thrive in a new environment. They may struggle to understand exactly what is expected of them and require more explanation. In a private lesson, the instructor is able to focus directly on that specific child’s needs and adapt the entire lesson to them. No child gets left on the step or becomes to bored to focus because the lesson plan is about them. The instructor is free to play games with kids that are needing some imagination while giving extra time to a child who is having a hard time expressing why they are nervous.
In a 30 minute group lesson with 6 kids, each child gets about 5 minutes of direct attention from the instructor. Over a 2 week group session of 8 lessons, that turns into 40 total minutes of time. Now, of course, this is not a perfect conversion because there are times that the instructor is teaching or playing with all of the kids in the group and when you are working with older, more advanced, kids, there is less of a need for direct attention and there is more autonomy. BUT, having taught group and private lessons, I have found that for kids of all ages, they make the same amount of progress in a 8 lesson group session as they would in only 2-3 private swim lessons. Kids do so well when they get 100% of another persons focus, especially an adult that they trust. In just a few 20 minute lessons, they can master how to control their breath below the water, feel how to hold their body in a back float to breathe, and (depending on age) begin feeling how to balance themselves to move through the water. Doing this in a controlled environment allows them to become comfortable and confident in a matter of days or weeks (again, depending on multiple factors mentioned above), instead of months or years.
All children can benefit from time in the water. We work with kids as young as 6 months, kids with sensory disorders, kids who are struggling to communicate verbally, kids with Down Syndrome and kids with anxiety, ocd, odd…basically, we have had a wide range of experiences teaching in the water. Being able to work directly with one child, without having to lose focus or multi task is a complete game changer. One child that I worked with, who spoke very little and was on the autism spectrum, struggled a lot with sensory processing. By focusing on his body language and connecting with him, I was soon able to help him feel balanced and bouyant. As soon as he could float and get himself through the water, it was almost impossible to get him out of the water — he felt so free.
Private lessons allow us to take every situation, regardless of challenges, and create a wonderful experience. We understand that every child is going to show a whole range of emotions, working one on one is the BEST scenario to making sure we can adapt and connect every single time.