This progressive program teaches kids ages 3 to 5 water adjustment, basic swimming competency, and benchmark skills. Preschool students can progress through four stages of classes.

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The next eight-week session of classes begins the week of January 2, 2019. Registration opens for YMCA members on December 15, 2018, and for community members on December 22, 2018.

Choose a Level

Not sure which lesson is the right fit? Use our Swim Lesson Selector (PDF) to assess the student, or contact the Aquatics Director at your branch.

Stage 1 Water Acclimation
  • Age: 3-5 years
  • Class length: 30 minutes
  • Qualification: None needed. This class is for kids who aren’t yet comfortable going under water voluntarily.
  • Skills Practiced:
    ○ Bob to submerge in water
    ○ Front and back glide to the wall for 5 feet with no help
    ○ Front and back float for 10 seconds with help
    ○ Roll from back to front and front to back with help
    ○ Jump, push, turn, grab with help
    ○ Swim, float, swim 10 feet with help
    ○ Exit the water

Preschoolers develop comfort with underwater exploration and are introduced to basic self-rescue skills performed with assistance.

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Stage 2 Water Movement
  • Age: 3-5 years
  • Class length: 30 minutes
  • Qualification: Child must be able to demonstrate all Stage 1 skills as follows:
    ○ Go underwater and comfortable open eyes without goggles
    ○ Float on front and back with minimal assistance
    ○ Jump into the pool, submerge, and return to the wall with assistance
    ○ This class is for kids who are not able to do a front and back float on their own.
  • Skills Practiced:
    ○ Submerge to look at an object on the bottom of the pool
    ○ Front and back glide to the wall for 5 feet
    ○ Front and back float for 10 seconds
    ○ Roll from back to front and front to back
    ○ Jump, push, turn, grab
    ○ Swim, float, swim 5 yards
    ○ Tread water near the wall for 10 seconds
    ○ Exit the water

Preschoolers focus on body position and control, directional change, and forward movement in the water, while also continuing to practice how to safely exit in the event of falling into water.

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Stage 3 Water Stamina
  • Age: 3-5 years
  • Class length: 30 minutes
  • Qualification: Child must be able to demonstrate all Stage 2 skills as follows:
    ○ Float on front and back unassisted
    ○ Push off the wall on stomach with face submerged for 10 feet unassisted
    ○ Swim, float, swim 15 feet unassisted
    ○ Jump into deep water and return to the wall unassisted
    ○ This class is for kids who are not able to swim 10-15 yards on their front and back.
  • Skills Practiced:
    ○ Retrieve an object in chest-deep water
    ○ Swim on front and back for 10 yards
    ○ Roll from back to front and front to back
    ○ Jump, push, turn, grab 10 yards
    ○ Swim, float, swim 15 yards
    ○ Tread water for 30 seconds
    ○ Exit the water

Preschoolers learn how to swim to safety from a longer distance than in previous stages. The class also introduces rhythmic breathing and integrated arm/leg action.

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Stage 4 Stroke Introduction
  • Age: 3-5 years
  • Class length: 45 minutes
  • Qualification: Child must be able to demonstrate all Stage 3 skills as follows:
    ○ Submerge and retrieve an object in chest-deep water
    ○ Swim front crawl 15 yards while taking a breath
    ○ Swim, float, swim 15 yards
    ○ Jump in and tread water for 30 seconds
    ○ Swim to wall and exit
    ○ This class is for kids who are not able to swim 15 yards of front and back crawl.
  • Skills Practiced:
    ○ Swim the front crawl with rotary breathing for 15 yards
    ○ Breaststroke kick for 15 yards
    ○ Butterfly kick for 15 yards
    ○ Elementary backstroke for 15 yards
    ○ Dive from a sitting position
    ○ Tread water using a scissor and whip kick for one minute
    ○ Swim any combination of strokes for 25 yards

Having mastered the fundamentals, preschoolers learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique.

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Contact Us

Questions about swimming at the Y? Our branch aquatics directors are here to help you.