Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Classes aim to help kids become swimmers, overcome fear of water

July 26, 2007


Holly Ashley, left, and Ava, 9 months, and Mackenzie Robbins and Miles, 9 months, get used to the water temperature Wednesday as they take their turns learning the ropes of swimming.

Holly Ashley, left, and Ava, 9 months, and Mackenzie Robbins and Miles, 9 months, get used to the water temperature Wednesday as they take their turns learning the ropes of swimming.

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Commissioners advance proposal to raise pool fees

Lawrence city commissioners advance a proposal to raise pool entrance fees to three and four dollars. Enlarge video

Some children's faces lit up with excitement while others' scrunched with concern as water splashed around them Wednesday morning at the Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center.

The nine young children, each sitting in the lap of a parent, were pretending to make cookies, splashing the surface of the 1-foot-deep wading pool as they mixed some make-believe batter.

The Lawrence Parks and Recreation parent-child swimming lessons, for children 6 months to 3 years old, are meant to make young children more comfortable in the water.

Some of the children already felt at home in the pool, but others were more wary, such as Julie Hayward's 20-month-old son, Andrew.

"He hates water," Hayward said. "But I think seeing other kids get in, he's been more willing to get in there."

After the cookie game, instructor Jason Smarker led the parents and children into the deeper section of the family pool, to do the hokeypokey and other musical games. The worried looks on some faces turned to smiles.

Erick Spears' 2-year-old son, Tyler, smiled during the entire lesson.

"He has always kind of been a water kid," Spears said.

After the games, Smarker moved on to the day's biggest step. He told the parents to briefly dip the children underwater, remembering to smile and act excited when they pulled the kids back up.

"When they bring them back up, they're confused," Smarker said. "They're like, 'I don't know what's going on.' But if the parents are happy and they're smiling, their kids are going to be happy."

He said he had seen several children overcome fears about the water during his two years teaching the two-week class.

"I had one girl, the first day of class she was crying in the water, but by the end she was laughing and smiling," he said.

The class also aims to get the children to feel comfortable in the water when they're separated from their parents, so they can move onto higher levels of lessons.

Parks and Recreation offers six more levels of swimming lessons for children, as well as adult classes. Classes run year-round, including evening and weekends during the fall and spring. The evening classes include eight 40-minute sessions for $30, and the weekend classes include five 50-minute sessions for $19.

Enrollment for the fall classes begins Sunday with the release of the fall Parks and Recreation activity guide.

People can enroll online at or go to the Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive.

Swimming pool fees

Lawrence city commissioners have advanced a proposal to raise pool entrance fees to $3 and $4.Starting next year, children older than 4, teenagers and seniors will pay $3 per visit.Right now, children pay $1.75, while teens and seniors pay $2.50.The price for adults will go up a quarter, from $3.75 to $4.That's a lower increase than city staff originally proposed. They recommended everyone pay $4 per visit.The changes will leave the Parks and Recreation Department with $47,000 less in next year's budget.That money will come from other Parks and Recreation projects.Lawrence city commissioners plan to finalize the changes when the 2008 budget is approved in August.


hammysammy 10 years, 10 months ago

I recommend the children's swim program offered through KU at Robinson. The classes through Parks and Rec are so fast paced, they push the kids through like cattle. How much can a kid really learn in 25 minutes with 10 to 15 other children? At Robinson, the class sizes are alot smaller, and class is 45 minutes.

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 10 months ago

hammy, I disagree. My oldest daughter has been taking lessons through lprd for 5 years, and they will not pass you, if you are not ready. My 2 year old has also taken classes for the last 2 summers. I feel confident that the instructors know what they are doing and they care about teaching these kids water safety as well as getting them to be comfortable in the water.

hammysammy 10 years, 10 months ago

Parks and Rec isn't right for everyone, I recommend KU if you need something slower paced or if your children are afraid of water. At Parks and Rec half the kids were crying and leaving the water in Level 1, you don't see that at Robinson so much. They have more time to ease the children into the task. Oh, and I'm not "btching and complaining", I was making a recommendation of a good service here in Lawrence. Mr Ramirez sure spends alot of time I've noticed on these boards btching and complaining about people's comments.

hammysammy 10 years, 10 months ago

And I didn't mean they push the kids thru the levels like cattle, I mean, your in the water for about 20 minutes tops, then the whistle blows and another herd comes in.

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 10 months ago

Hammy, you are wrong about time spent in the water as well. In our level 3 class that we are currently in, we are in the water for 40-45 minutes. Also, my youngest who is in the parent child class, was in the water for 25 minutes. I have never seen kids pushed to do something they did not want to do. The lifeguards, help the kids to overcome their fears.

hammysammy 10 years, 10 months ago

In level one the class is 25 minutes which is includes sitting and talking. .The parent-child class which was held at the same time did the exact same thing. My friend and I rode together and she was in that class....I am not wrong about that. Unless they changed it mid-season. It's not right for everyone. I'm not saying Parks and Rec totally sucks and I hate it more than anything. I just happen to know that there is something better. I don't why everyone is getting so freaking defensive about it. Some people might want to know about a higher quality swimming class for their children. And Mr Ramirez also likes to mock people for spending alot of time on the boards which is the pot calling the kettle black. Though I am in total agreement about the tragedies. Posting shouldn't be allowed on those articles.

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 10 months ago

hammy, In all of the classes that I have seen and been involved in, the instructors take roll, and then immediately enter the water. They have safety day, where they sit and talk about lifejackets, etc. Did you go when there was lightning in the area? If so, there may have been a longer delay getting in the water. As far as class times, do you really think that a bunch of 4 year olds, will get a lot out of a longer class. The goal of level 1 is to get them familiar with the water and comfortable putting their faces in, and learning to float. They usually do not work on a lot of strokes at this age. They also work on moving your arms in the right direction as well as kicking. Not necessarily a stroke, but the right way to use your arms and legs.

cmkrizan 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm not familiar with Robinson's swim lessons, but I know the Lawrence Aquatic Centers follow Red Cross guidelines of the Learn to Swim Program. That means the instructor to student ratio is at the most 1:8. Lessons are 45 minutes in length, except for level 1 (4-5 year olds) and parent/child class which are both 25 minutes, and this is because the children are too young to be in a class-length much longer. Wherever you go, I feel it's just important for your kids to learn to swim and to learn how to be safe in and around water!

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