Should My Kids Take Lessons In The Summer?

Should My Kids Take Lessons In The Summer?

Schools out! Your kids days are filled with birthday parties, camp, and days at the cottage. Many parents are saying good-bye to swimming lessons until the Fall. Yet, parents are taken aback if their child hasn’t improved their swimming skills, or even forgotten some of the fundamental strokes when lessons roll around again! Enter the importance of swimming year-round.

Retention Is Key

Swimming, like any skill, needs to be practiced regularly in order to improve and stay competent. You can’t expect your child to be swimming just as confidently as they did in the Spring, if they’ve had 3 months off! Regular exposure creates a more confident and skilled swimmer. With year-round lessons, children build upon their foundation and undergo progressive learning, which allows them to not only practice and retain their skills but also regularly improve.

“But, my kids swim in the pool and lake all summer! Isn’t that good enough?”

That’s awesome! The more your kids are having safe play in water – the better! But, we’re not just talking about jumping in and out of the pool, playing on blow-up toys and going down water slides. We’re talking about strategic learning. Our professional and certified instructors are there with your kids throughout the lesson watching every move. They’re there to assess and correct when necessary, creating the most competent swimmers possible!

Perfecting Skills

Anyone needs a refresher after a hiatus from an activity. Continuous swimming allows the swimmers to practice and perfect their strokes while building up strength and endurance in the water. Swimmers who have regular lessons whether it be all year, all fall/winter or all summer long will see a greater success rate as they are given more time to perfect their skills. Summer is a great time to brush up on your skills, keep them at their current level and even improve on their skills and abilities. The long breaks and time away from lessons has instructors playing catch up for the first 3-5 lessons to regain stamina and strength (varies per individual).  

At Aqua Essence we make it easy for your kids to partake in summer swimming lessons. With most people stopping lessons in the summer we have more availability, and more ability to accommodate whatever days and times work for you. And if you have your own pool? Even easier – we’ll come to you and get the lesson over before your kids can say “marco polo”! So don’t wait, contact us today!

Ready, Set, Swim!™

Online Courses/Programs During COVID-19

Online Courses/Programs During COVID-19

There are no words to truly describe our new normal. We know this is a difficult time for everyone but in particular parents. With the current school closures and timelines unknown, we know many parents are looking for quality programs to create structure and routine in their day. While there are many resources available, we would like to share a few that we have been running with aquamazing feedback.

Aqua Essence Swim Academy online programs:

  • Virtual Red Cross Babysitting Course: This course is for participants aged 11-15. It is taught by our certified instructors using Zoom ( video conferencing). We were excited to be chosen as one of three test sites in Canada! This course is a great opportunity for your child (ren) to sign up with their friends, siblings, cousins, and neighbours! We’ve had participants take the course from all over Manitoba and Canada! We are asking you to help us spread the word to your school friends, family, and anyone across Canada. We have instructors ready to work! 
  • At Home Heroes and Sheroes: This course is designed as an introduction to the world of first aid for candidates aged 7-11.  We have been teaching this course in schools for the last 3 years with incredible results and feedback. We discuss how to recognize an emergency and the steps to take when one arises. Candidates learn in an online environment in their own homes how to treat cuts, broken bones, choking victims and we will even get a chance to try out their leadership skills while practicing mock phone calls with a 911 operator. If your child is interested in the first aid world and you’re not sure where to start, this course is for At-Home Heroes and Sheroes like you! Please note, there is no first aid certification for this course. 
  •  At Home Aqua Babies: We are so excited to bring you our trademarked Aqua Babies program to your own home, your tub or your own pool of any kind! Aqua Essence Swim Academy’s specialized approach to teaching babies how to swim is focused on safety, confidence, and family connection. This is a skills-based learning program taught by expert instructors who understand how babies react to water and how they learn best! Babies from 3 months to toddlers  3 years old are welcome to participate in our home Aqua Babies. Classes will run for 15-20 minutes a class.  Get your playgroups, your baby groups, your cousins, your neighbours and come join us (virtually) in your “pool”. 
  •  Aqua Essentials: Aqua Essentials Session 1 – Resume Building and Professionalism: The opening session of Aqua Essentials focus on the development of professional leadership skills. Candidates will put together their first resume under the guidance of the instructor and even get to hone their skills in a mock interview. Candidates will work towards learning the characteristics of a great employee and get the chance to participate in activities that will allow them to practice skills that are crucial to their success while working in and out of the pool. This session is taught completely online using video conferencing to maximize candidates’ engagement as well as convenience. This session is 5 hours of online learning done over 2 sessions. 

If you have questions about any of the above programs, please contact us at office@aquaessence.ca or courses@aquaessence.ca

Take Care!

Tips for a Successful Pool Visit

Tips for a Successful Pool Visit

Hi Aqua Families!

As your children go through the process of learning the undeniably important life skill of learning how to swim, there are steps you can take o make your trips to the pool as smooth as possible. Since we as instructors live at the pool, we wanted to share some of our favorite tips for a perfect pool visit!

  • At Home

The first step to a perfect pool visit happens before you even leave your home. There’s nothing worse than getting all the way to the pool and realizing you forgot a towel or even your bathing suit. Be sure to double-check for these important items! If you’re simply going to be watching from the side of the pool you still need to think about bringing the proper footwear to keep your feet clean on the pool deck. It’s also against the rules of every city pool to wear outdoor shoes on the pool deck. 

Goggles can help our older swimmers (Level 5 and up) stay away from eye irritation as they complete laps in the deep end of the pool. Lastly, if you are planning on using a locker to store your belongings while on deck, remember to bring a quarter to lock things up!

  • At the Pool

Ok, you’ve got everything you need and now you’re walking out on to the deck of the pool with your youngsters who are ready to hop in! But wait! Letting your child go near the water before their lesson starts can be very dangerous. Luckily, there’s an easy way to tell if your child is tall enough to enter the water without a parent or guardian. When you walk out of the change room there is a thick red line either painted on or fastened to the wall. The height of that line is equal to the depth of the pool’s shallow end. Looking at your family as you walk out of the change room gives the lifeguards a good idea of who can and who is allowed in the water alone and who is not immediately. But feel free to check for yourself! If your child’s shoulders are above the top of that red line, then they are welcome to hop in and wait for their instructor in the water. If not, then they must wait with you on the seating outside the pool. Even sitting on the steps into the water counts as being ‘in the pool’. Take the time to watch some other swimmers so that your little ones will get excited about the skills that they will be learning in the future!

  • During the Lesson

We always encourage parents of our swimmers to watch their child’s lesson. Our students always seem to swim better when their parents are there cheering them on from the sidelines! Our instructors will always come to fill you in on what’s being worked on after every class so don’t scoot away too quickly as it may take them a minute to work their way down to you.

So there you have it! By following these simple tips, you can make sure to get the most out of your time at the pool and most importantly, stay safe in the process!

Why You Should Stay for Water Safety Classes

Why You Should Stay for Water Safety Classes

Hi Aqua Families!

Pool foulings happen… but they are unavoidable to a certain extent. Every session we see several foulings that keep us out of the water during swim time. This is just as frustrating for us as instructors as it is for you as parents, believe me. While there is bound to be a bit of chaos when the lifeguard makes the dreaded call to clear the pool, rest assured we have a plan of action.

The Red Cross Swim Kids/Preschool Curriculum has several Water Safety Skills and Knowledge items to be checked off for each and every level. There is no reason why these skills can’t be talked about/performed on dry land. SO instead of pool foulings being a nuisance, we try to see them as an opportunity to hone in on the water safety side of swimming lessons, arming our swimmers with knowledge about what to do if they find themselves in a dangerous situation, or better yet, how to avoid these situations in the first place. We highly encourage all of our swimmers and their parents to stay with us during pool foulings so that we can educate your family about drowning prevention, first aid, and all sorts of cool water-related safety tips!

Well, what about the little kids? There’s no way they get anything out of just coloring for 30 minutes! WRONG! The preschool levels are where arguably the most learning gets done in these types of classes. You would be surprised how many 3-6-year-olds don’t know that it is against the law to not wear a lifejacket in a boat, or how many don’t know what number to call if an emergency arises. With young swimmers, we use relatable locations like the cabin or the pool to devise situations and talk them through while doing water safety-related activities on paper for something to take home. It’s about having these conversations early and often with younger swimmers. Producing Water Smart Swimmers is what we’re all about! Water Safety classes give us the opportunity to build on existing knowledge and discover new things about the potential dangers of being a swimmer.

SO, if you arrive at the pool and see that the pool is closed for a fouling or any other reason, do not turn around to head home just yet! As soon as a pool fouling occurs, our instructors spring into action and the first thing we always do is put up a sign on the front desk telling you where to go to find Aqua Essence for Water Safety! It could be on the pool deck or a room that the lifeguards have given us for the evening. There will be a place for your child to learn on days like this so please don’t immediately head for the door! We ask that you give our instructors a chance to do what they do best: educate your child!

How to Prepare for a Bronze Course with Aqua Essence

If you’re reading this then chances are you just signed up for an Aqua Essence Bronze Medallion or Bronze Cross course. What a fantastic decision! These entry-level courses give our candidates not only certifications that are recognized by Manitoba’s Lifesaving Society but lifesaving knowledge that could prevent serious injury or even death. These certifications look amazing on a resume when applying for literally any position imaginable and (more importantly) the skills gained in these courses give our candidates confidence around the water that will stay with them for the entirety of their lives.

Anyway! Enough about all the obvious benefits of taking this course. Let’s talk about how our courses here at Aqua are a little bit different:

  • Crash Course: We are able to offer a compact course by completing two 8-hour days in a single weekend. These days will generally run 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. This has the benefit of keeping the material fresh in the minds of our candidates which helps to alleviate some of the pressure fo the final practical exam. Candidates will be given a homework assignment that should take a few hours to complete properly. All the information for the assignment can be found in the Candian Lifesaving Manual; a book that young lifesavers will become familiar with as they move through the courses toward lifeguard certification.
  • We Come to You: Summertime is prime time for both swimming and lifesaving courses! Take full advantage of our privatized teaching style by holding a course in your own backyard pool. A certified, confident, knowledgeable instructor can come to you as long as you have at least 3 candidates.
  • EFA or SFA Included: It’s very rare to find both first aid and lifesaving certification in one course even though both of them are required for employment almost anywhere. At Aqua we have amalgamated the two! Emergency First Aid comes with every Bronze Medallion and Standard First Aid comes with every Bronze Cross. Two Courses in one!
  • Year-Round: During the school year our courses take place in the central locations of the Canadian Mennonite University and the Cindy Klassen Recreation Centre for dry and wet classes respectively. In the summertime, we have a beautiful outdoor pool in River Heights where candidates can enjoy the sun and learn in a realistic environment.

What kinds of things should you be doing as a candidate to get yourself 100% prepared?

  • Check requirements! The pre-requisite for Bronze Medallion is to be either 13 years old or a Bronze Star holder. You can challenge Bronze Star as early as 11 years old. Contact our office to find out if this option is right for you. The only pre-requisite for Bronze Cross is to be a Bronze Medallion holder.
  • Swim! Bronze courses are physically demanding and if you haven’t been swimming for a year or two you will be challenged by the distance and fitness swims that are in both the Medallion and Cross courses. Medallion candidates should be able to complete a swim of 500m in less than 15 minutes. While Cross candidates should be able to complete a 600m swim in less than 18 minutes. Overall physical fitness is a huge benefit but in lifesaving and swimming in general, the technique is always the most important factor for success.
  • Sleep! Your mind needs to be sharp throughout the long days that these courses entail. Getting a full 8-hour sleep is a necessary part of keeping yourself in the zone.
  • Bring snacks! There will be lots of energy spent throughout the days of the courses and replenishing yourself will allow you to stay alert and ready.
  • Bring 2-3 towels! There will be a lot of jumping in and out of the water and there’s nothing worse than wrapping yourself in a cold damp towel. Bring a bunch so you can stay warm!
  • Check the Weather! During the summer when our courses are outside, we stop for nothing due to our tight schedule. Thunder and lightning might keep us out of the water but there are still dryland skills to practice no matter what. Dressing for the weather of the weekend will be crucial to candidate success.
  • Check your email! Our office needs to see your pre-requisite certifications before you are eligible for the course. We also offer the ability to order Subway through us and you wouldn’t want to miss out! Contact us at courses@aquaessence.ca 

After reading through this post you are undoubtedly ready for anything Bronze Medallion or Cross can throw at you! Our instructors can’t wait to meet you and help push you through the challenges these courses provide! Check our Leadership Courses tab above to look for a course today!

Rethinking Results Oriented Thinking

Hi Aqua Families! Let’s talk about progression.

There will always be peaks and valleys when it comes to progressing in any skill. The Red Cross Swim Kids program that Aqua uses has a lot of benefits. It’s split up into 3 main sections:

  • Swimming
  • Skills and Water Safety
  • Fitness Activities

This format helps structure a lesson from an instructor’s point of view because they can see exactly where each individual swimmer needs to spend time and energy working. Maybe it’s the distance swim that’s giving them trouble. Focus on Fitness Activities. Perhaps Eggbeater has been challenging a swimmer. Focus on Water Safety Skills for the next few weeks.

These are the things going on in a swim instructor’s mind at any given point during a lesson: Where to go next. A plan of action moving forward. This is the exact reason that we don’t like to focus on what level the child is in. I know that doesn’t make much sense right out the gate. Hear me out!

Levels are a quick way for us to gauge skill level ON PAPER. That’s it. When deciding what to work on with a class, getting a badge is very rarely on my mind. I feel my swimmers’ time is better spent on developing and progressing skills, thinking of the badges as a by-product of the skill development.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of swimmers and their families get very disappointed about not completing a level when, in reality, they had a fantastic session where they improved tremendously! This saddens me deeply. Hitting an arbitrary checkpoint on the road towards being a great swimmer matter less than the fact that they are progressing in the first place in my mind. We can absolutely celebrate these checkpoints when they happen, but should also celebrate mastering a Standing Dive, getting a perfect ‘S’ pull during Front Crawl, keeping ankles flexed during Front Whip Kick, or any number of accomplishments that don’t have to be involved with the receipt of a badge.

Here at Aqua, we take a huge amount of pride in producing the absolute best swimmers from our program. There are no handouts and our swimmers will work hard each and every week to achieve their individualized goals. This method can bring up some tense situations where a swimmer and an instructor may disagree on what constitutes a change in level. These are moments I like to remind my families that we can and will progress any skill when it’s ready to be progressed. There have been many situations where a swimmer will be Level 5 on paper because they are having a tough time with the Whip Kick needed for that level, but will also be working on Stride Entries (Level 7), Eggbeater Treading (Level 8) and Elementary Backstroke (Level 6).

Let’s have a great swimming year and remember the knowledge and skills learned are more important than any badge!