So, you’ve decided it’s time for the kids to venture off land and into the pool. After taking a look at our post on how to choose the right swimming lessons for your child, you might be wondering where to go and what this adventure is going to cost. Luckily, as with most things here in the city that never sleeps, there are swim lessons that can fit into any budget (including free) and swimming classes for kids at every level. Read on to find out all the options for kids swimming classes in New York City from Mommy and Me swimming lessons to group and private swim instruction.
Mommy and Me
A little while back we did a great round-up of Mommy and Me swim classes that features places like Asphalt Green and Swim Jim. One highlight: The 14th Street Y offers free family swim times and Mommy and Me swim classes for babies and toddlers 6 months and up.
Another place worth checking out is Imagine Swimming (various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn) where the base rate is $40 per 40 minute lesson.
No matter where you sign up, I think Swim Jim’s “10 Golden Rules of Water Safety” are a great way to introduce and talk about swimming with your kids. They are standard fair, like not jumping in the shallow end and obeying pool rules, but they are quick and easy crash course in water safety.
If your child isn’t a floater yet and you won’t be with them in the water, you want to make sure they are in a really great group class. Semi-private classes are a bit more expensive than group but cheaper than private, and offer the attention a non-floater really needs to be safe, calm and swimming around happily.
The 92nd St Y has semi-private lessons for 6 half-hour lessons at $270 for non members and $210 for members. They also have group lessons for non-swimmers 3.5 to 5 years at $432 for non members and $336 for members, for 16 hour-long sessions. All YMCAs offer similar classes and rates, visit your local YMCA's site for more information.
Take Me to the Water also has semi private classes, for students at least 4 years old, available in 30 minute and 45 minutes sessions. They have locations in Battery Park City, Tribeca, UWS, Forest Hills, Park Slope, New Jersey, UES and Long Island.
If you’ve got yourself a floater, you are most likely looking at group lessons. In that case, you can pretty much go anywhere. Local places like Asphalt Green, Imagine Swimming and Swim Jim are great and will even start teaching your child stroke technique (eventually, in more advanced levels), and you can also look into group lessons at your local YMCA or JCC. My big tip here is to visit a couple of different places if you can. Get a feel for the instructor your child is going to be working with and maybe even sit in on a class. Group lessons can run around $200-$500, and you want to make sure you are getting what you are paying for.
My next tip is to check out the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation swim lessons because they are FREE. Children are accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis and the next semester will start in May for Spring/Summer. The classes are for children ages 6-14 and held on weekdays from 4-5pm at various locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn Manhattan and Queens.
If you are looking at private lessons, you are looking a little deeper into your wallet, but don’t let that discourage you. Catering to your child’s specific swimming needs will pan out better than just throwing them in the water during a group lesson. One tip is to talk to the lifeguards at your local YMCA or JCC branch and see what they would charge on the side for private lessons. If they say more than $80 an hour, don’t go for it (or try negotiating). The aim is to give them extra cash and bring down the cost for you.
Asphalt Green has a great reputation for private lessons, which run $63 per half hour and $126 per hour. Their deadline for the spring term is quickly approaching, so if interested, inquire sooner rather than later.
The YMCA and JCC have varying rates depending on the branch. The 92nd St Y costs $330 for non members and $270 for members for 6, half-hour lessons. The Staten Island JCC has more of a À la carte way of doing lessons at the rate of $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers per 30 minute session.
Whatever you choose, know that you are really doing something wonderful for your child. The ability to swim will be with them their whole lives, and it such a great skill to have. Happy Swimming!