If you happen to follow on Instagram stories, then you know about Layla’s weekly swim lessons! She’s been taking them for about three months now and is always having SO MUCH FUN. I can’t help but share snaps and weekly stories of her progress! Since starting, I’ve received several questions about our experience at Goldfish Swim School, so I couldn’t wait to update y’all here! Spoiler alert: after our experience, I’d call them Richmond’s best toddler swim lessons!
Layla has not taken swim lessons previously, but after talking to several local moms I am confident that Goldfish is the right place for Layla! I’ve heard horror stories about overly pushy teachers, forced dunking, and overall negative swim lesson experiences. And every time I hear another horror story, I always recommend Goldfish!
The Goldfish Swim School Facility
From the moment you walk in, the entire environment is kid-friendly and inviting. From the fun under-the-sea murals to the brightly colored walls and changing rooms, Layla instantly felt comfortable!
There is even a play area for before and after class. After getting changed, Layla always runs to play with the activity cube, the coloring station, or the chalkboard walls! They also have a collection of books, which Layla of course digs. I don’t know how many times I’ve read Peppa Goes Swimming! ?
For after class, there are showers that can be used by the students. Baby wash is also provided, which I love. Directly after class, Layla always gets her shower in! Then we head to the hair drying station, so she doesn’t have to leave soaked. Goldfish also provides swimsuit dryers, which come in so handy!
The staff is so cheerful and friendly too. At our first lesson, every single person we came into contact with introduced themselves to Layla. And they subsequently remembered her name! There is nothing like being greeted before every class to make a child feel welcomed and comfortable! Each teacher also greets each child by name poolside before class.
The Swim Lessons
Of course the actual swim lessons are important too, and I’ve been equally as impressed with them. Each class level has a set of skills they work on every week. The teachers are encouraging and so supportive. I kid you not when I say that they give high fives and words of encouragement to each child after every single skill they practice!
Layla can be sensitive and she’s never once been intimidated in class. (I know she’d straight up refuse to go if she had!) No child is forced to complete a skill but they certainly encouraged. Seeing the other kids try and get high fives is added motivation too!
Class sizes are kept small and limited to four children. That means Layla isn’t sitting on the sidelines the whole class! She actually spends quite a bit of time in the water. There is also always an additional lifeguard and deck supervisor outside of the pool keeping watch, which makes me feel at ease.
Learning to swim isn’t the only focus during class. I love that swim safety is also a priority! Some of the first skills Layla mastered were walking the wall with her “crab pinchers” and safely pulling herself out of the pool. (“Fin, fin, belly, flipper” is a common saying around our house now!) As a mom I greatly appreciate that safety skills are prioritized.
At the end of every class, parents are invited to come to the pool deck for a weekly progress report. Teachers always congratulate the students for a job well done and then mention areas they’d like to see improvement. I love that they keep the tone positive since moms know that little ears pick up on everything!
Children are also rewarded with a small item each week as well. From stickers to tattoos to small water toys, Layla is always pumped to see what little gift she’s earned! They also award ribbons when new skills are mastered or when children move up to a new level!
Overall, I truly can’t say enough positive things about our experience at Goldfish. Not only has Layla become more confident in the water, she also knows water safety. Her weekly swim lesson is one of the highlights of her week, and I can’t wait to see how she continues to improve!
*I was provided three months of free swim lessons from Goldfish Swim School, but all opinions are my own. After completing our trial, we decided to continue sending Layla and paying out of our own pocket because we love and believe in the lessons 100%!*
Oh my gosh, Gold Fish Swim school looks so cute! We enrolled my son Max (age 3) in Aqua Tots about 3 months ago. I’m pretty sure Aqua Tots falls into the “horror stories” you mentioned about forced dunking, and trust me I was horrified and super stressed out for the first month of swim lessons. But we had already tried swim lessons at our local YMCA which consisted of gently splashing around in the water singing songs.
Max is a cautious kid and was never going to learn to swim without a little “tough love”. For us, Aqua Tots hovered on more than just tough love, but after about a month he finally started taking to it and now he is a lot more comfortable in the water. It has been a tough couple months (especially for me!), but Gold Fish swim school looks like a great option.
I can’t say enough great things about Goldfish either! We had to stop since I had to be in the water with Mara and was getting too big and uncomfortable, but I really want to start her up again in the fall after Baby comes!