Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Navigating Swimming Lessons for Preschoolers in Vancouver

My mission for today is to try and navigate swimming lessons.  I don't know why I do these things to myself. 

I think swimming lessons are really important from a safety perspective and I'd much rather Aias learn to swim from someone who was actually taught to teach kids to swim, rather than from me.  I will be anxious and panicky and I'm certain he will perceive this, so he cannot learn to swim from me.  

To make this happen I need to get my crap together and figure out how to get him into a course. The only problem with all this is that apparently signing kids up for swimming lessons is a huge pain in the ass.

For like 2 years I've had every intention of registering Aias, but the classes always fell during times where I've been watching another kid.  This year I'm not watching other kids nights and weekends, so we can finally sign up for swimming lessons.  Every other time I've planned well in advance of the registration date, but not this time (of course, duh, thank you Murphy's Law, etc).

My first place I thought to look was the Vancouver Aquatic Centre.  Why? Pure laziness. We can walk there in 20 minutes.  I couldn't find the program guide online because my Google-fu when it comes to that is apparently garbage.  I managed to figure out the online registration but everything is in categories like "turtle" and "starfish" and I have no idea what those things are. So I called the centre, but when you call them, you get a generic front desk that is manned by the city of Vancouver. When I asked them my questions, they finally directed me to the real live Vancouver Aquatic Centre front desk. Woo hoo! Or so I thought.  Apparently Aias is a "Sea Otter" because he's not had lessons before. Good to know. Except every class is full. Evidently Vancouver is full-o-sea otters.

I put him on two wait lists, he's number 14 on one and number 8 on the other. I asked the girl if she felt it was a futile move on my part, but she assured me that a few weeks before the course starts, her manager looks at the wait list and generally creates another class for the kids on it. I thought that was pretty sweet.  

Next I Googled other options: ie Aquaventures. This would be a pain because it's in Kits and we'd have to bus there.  Of course, Aquaventures is $188 for a 30 minute course and $277.50 for a 45 minute course. No thanks.

And Mommy Makes 3 brought up the Robert Lee YMCA because apparently kids who are members get free swimming lessons.  I'm leery of the Robert Lee YMCA programs because I'm generally dissatisfied with their instructors (at least, the ones I've been in drop-in programs with).  Free is free, though.  I looked at their website and it does list some times, but it says to go to the online registration site to find the courses. So, I did. And, none are listed at the Robert Lee YMCA, only at the "Tong Louie Family YMCA" and the "Chilliwack Family YMCA."  So, I've called and left a message.

Basically I suck at this swimming lessons thing.  Here's how to not suck:

1.  Have a plan, research a few months in advance.  Have a Plan A and Plan B.
2.  Mark the registration dates on your calendar in large writing.
3.  Register at the exact earliest moment possible.

Other tips:

* Don't do this at the last minute
* Be willing to claw through other parents to get a great spot

That's all I have to say about this. 

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