Swim Lessons for 3-5 Year Olds

Parent Q&A

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  • Hello! I’m interested in signing my 5yo daughter up for swim lessons , does any one have experience with classes at the ymca? If so any input on Oakland vs Berkeley ymca? We have done tiny tots at strawberry canyon but I’m having a hard time with the classes at city pools and strawberry canyon selling out so quickly! I’m thinking maybe ymca might be easier to get into lessons since the pool is indoors and lessons run all year?  Also open to private swim lessons if anyone has a recommendation! Thanks for any input:)- Julie 

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  • Hi all, we are new to the area and trying to choose between preschool swim lessons for our 4yo at King Pool or West Campus Pool. Any opinions about how they compare? Thank you!

    West pool is considerably warmer, if you kid is sensitive to water temp. Otherwise, no real differences. 

    The lessons will be the same - same teachers, same approach - but the big difference is the temperature. West Campus pool is very warm, King is more normal lap-pool temperature. We love West Campus for our kiddos for that reason, but they have done fine at King when we've done summer lessons there too.

  • Hi parents! Anyone have a recommendation for a really great, fun swim instructor for a four year old who, since birth, has been absolutely terrified of getting her face or ears even the slightest bit wet? I’m ready to resort to private lessons after not much luck with our public pool and sweet but inexperienced instructors. Would especially love a female instructor who could teach us in or near El Cerrito. Thanks so much for any and all recommendations!

    El Cerrito Swim Center offers private lessons. Our almost-4-year-old was also pretty scared of the water (and getting his face and head wet particularly) and JUST started a swim class there, his first one. His teacher is Fiona and she is excellent. She's young and sweet, but extremely good with young kids--and my son blew bubbles for the first time on day 1!

  • Hey parents! Does anyone have recommendations for a swim teacher (private or semi-private) in or near Alameda? Aquatech has been full for two years straight, M-S (I look regularly) for my child's age. Any recommendations would be hugely appreciated. (I am currently looking into Ohana, but would love something even closer.)

    Thank you much!

    Jeff Daitsman is a wonderful, patient swim teacher and he will come to a pool near you, if there is one. Our 3yo son has been taking swim lessons with him and he's so great. Our son is very high maintenance and has not made Jeff's job easy but he stuck it out and our son actually enjoys putting his face in the water now! And he is not expensive either. He has early childhood training and also teaches group classes around the East Bay. I think you can contact him through his website or give him a call or email. 


    jeffdaitsmanchildcare [at] gmail.com

    Hi, depends on the age of your child -- Alameda Rec & Parks sponsors swim lessons at the city pools (which are heated, but not heated to like a bathtub temperature like AquaTech is), in group, semi-private, and private lessons, starting at the age of 3. My son has done the group lessons, and I've been impressed with the instructors. I also did a private lesson and thought the instructor was good. They've just announced the winter series, so it's a good time to sign up. https://anc.apm.activecommunities.com/alamedarecreation/activity/search…

  • Swim Lessons for 4yo

    Apr 10, 2022

    Hello! I am looking for private swim lessons for my 4yo in the Berkeley/Albany area. If anyone has an recs, please let me know! She loves to swim but has never had actual lessons so she's a beginner.

    Years ago my daughter and I took group parent-child lessons with Tim Oliver.  It was great!  Not the usual, "splash-splash- sing-song".  I think they also offer private lessons.  It's in a beautiful setting, dome over the pool in the winter, and salt-water pool.  https://www.ohanaaquatics.com

    Following this thread, as I'd love recs, too. El Cerrito Swim opened up registration to non-residents today (including private lessons), but most of the times/dates that worked for my 4-year-old were already waitlisted.

    From what I can see on the website, the King and West pools via Berkeley's aquatic programs don't offer private lessons, while Albany Swim Center had discontinued lessons last time I checked (though maybe that will change).

    Would love to hear about more options for private lessons in the area!

  • Looking for private swimming lessons for a 5 year old with previous basic experience. Aware of Harriet Plummer, Ohana, Canyon and Patti’s. Thank you! 


    For private we have done Patti's Swim in Castro Valley. It's a bit of a drive from our house but it's 1:1 and you can actually schedule 1-hour lessons. The con is the price -it's really expensive. My daughter is at Ohana now. She LOVES her instructor and typically there is only one other child. I will say that there has been a lot of staff turnover so many lessons were previously cut. You can also book private lessons through Strawberry Canyon. 

  • Hello, I have 3 daughters who were making progress with swim instruction but since many schools have closed we are currently looking for a skilled instructor who would be willing to teach our girls to swim in open water at a local beach. If anyone has any recommendations please let them know they can email me directly.


    I know a terrific coach, his name is Pierpaolo Morra. He is normally coaches swimming at the Berkeley Tennis Club. He is amazing with children, but also with adults. (Pierpaolo used to be on the Italian national swim team.)

    I know he started coaching open water in Alameda.

    His email is pierpaolo.morra [at] gmail.com.

  • My kiddos are 5 & 7 and both have a terrible fear of dunking their heads under water. We've tried a few swim classes over the years but they both get really worked up about the part of swimming where they need to get under the water (i believe my youngest learned this behavior/fear from her older brother). I love swimming as does their father, but unfortunately we didnt expose them to swimming enough when they were babies so now we have fearful swimmers. On the bright side, they both love being in pools and in the ocean just as long as they have a floatie or an adult to swim with. 

    I'd love some fresh recommendations for swim instructors that can work some serious magic with sensitive kids like these. Instructors that are truly invested in the individual and will move at their pace. I realize we may have to do some private sessions for a while to get them over their fears before they go back to group classes. We've tried so many instructors and most of them just bulldoze over my kids' sensitivities and more or less force them to do exercises rather than figure out how to get them comfortable and enjoying the water.

    Thanks for your help!

    -Mermaid mama 

    It worked for my daughter to practice in the bathtub, and when she got good at that, at recreational swim with me, then try lessons. It is good that they like pools, that will help a lot. Go to the El Cerrito pool for recreational swim, because floaties are not allowed, so they won't have that option to fall back on.

    We had a great experience with Sherman Swim School in Lafayette. They only do private lessons, but they're only 15-20 min (2x/week) so they're reasonably priced, for private lessons. And to be honest, that's about all a little kid can handle as far as attention span, etc. It's good bang for your buck. My son was also fearful about putting his head underwater and they were GREAT about taking things at his pace and making it fun. He LOVED his teacher (Tiffany) but there were other great teachers there too. We're headed back this Summer for more lessons. We live in Oakland and elect to go through the tunnel to Lafayette for the warmer weather and an outdoor (but tented/shady) pool. The distance is the same, time-wise, to something like Aquatech in Alameda anyway. Best of luck!

    Have you heard of Debbie's swim school? They teach private lessons for swimmers with aquaphobia. My son had a very bad experience with group swimming after he turned 3 since I wasn't allowed in the pool with him anymore and he refuse the pool for a year. We found Debbie's swim school and has been loving them. They do work at your child's pace and understand that it takes time. They are kind of further in Benicia and Fairfield, but it's worth it for us. You can check them out here http://www.debbiesswimschool.com/

    AquaTech!  They have a method that is followed by all instructors, so it is very consistent regardless of which instructor you get.  They are very patient, friendly and have somehow engaged all 3 of my kids (7yo, 5yo, 3yo) to put their heads in.  Once we switched from Albany Aquatic Center (where they would leave swim lessons with their top half dry, no joke), I was shocked to look over during swim lessons and see my, at the time 6yo & 4yo dunking their heads under water while they waited for their turn with the instructor.  These are kids who would not even put their ears in.  Added bonus is they have a great cancellation policy (day-of before 9am) and allow for make-up classes.  Nothing worse than paying for classes that your kids miss!  People have said they have probs online with waitlists -- I just called in and had no problem getting a day/time for all 3 kids.  We live in Bkly and the drive over after school is very easy.

    Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante.  We live in Berkeley and it's a trek for a 30 minute lesson, but we found it worthwhile.  Depending on the route, we can normally make it in about 20 minutes.  Both my children were extremely fearful of the water.  My husband and I also love being in the water, and were kicking ourselves for not being more consistent about exposing them to it at an early age.  They loved being the water...as long as their faces/eyes didn't get wet!  Even baths required making sure their eyes were dry.  One of my children is very cautious, and hesitant to try anything new or that be perceives as high-risk (usually means something he doesn't know how to do).  Numerous other parents suggested Canyon Swim School and initially, I was a bit doubtful because Canyon suggested group lessons before discussing the possibility or private lessons.  To my amazement, group lessons were great. They have mostly high school kids teaching lessons, which I think the kids enjoyed more than working with an adult.  I was surprised that the group aspect was actually fun and relaxing for them than one-on-one.  They don't pressure the kids and start with things like, games and blowing bubbles in the water.  30 minutes is actually the perfect amount of time - just enough time to work on a few skills in a fun way but not long enough that they start to get bored or drag their feet about going to lessons.  A bonus is the heated pool.  No more complaining about being too cold in the pool!  I can't say that my kids have turned into water loving fishes but they are definitely progressing (very slowly).  And for me, that's fine.  As long as they are progressing and having a positive experience with learning to swim, I'm happy.  We spent all last summer repeatedly taking Beginner 1.  This summer is all about Beginner 2. Some kids breeze through the levels, mine repeat them at least 3 times.  And it's fine, no one at the school blinks an eye or makes my child feel like a failure.  While there are a lot of teachers at Canyon, their methods are fairly consistent.  We have yet to repeat an instructor and from watching lessons, the instructors are all well trained and consciously try to keep the experience positive for the child.  The downsides are that Canyon only offers lessons during the summertime and they fill up quickly.  The office tries to schedule sibling classes at the same time or back-to-back if possible, which I appreciate.  The parking can be a headache, and I've learned that timing is key because there are consistent waves of cars leaving/arriving to park as lessons are finished.  You can always find parking along San Pablo Dam road, but it's a farther and sometimes a bit hair-raising walk along the road because cars zip by quickly.  I'd suggest purchasing a well fitting pair of googles for them after lessons have started, this helped our kids get over putting their heads under water.  Good luck!  

  • My son is 6 years old. He's always been very averse to water, even as a baby. He refuses to put his head underwater. We have done group swim lessons on and off since he was three years old, at the Oakland Y (not a great experience, one sub dunked him under the water), and then at Mills. At Mills, after two years, he would start blowing bubbles and put his face in a few times, but still refused to dunk his head all the way under. 

    At this point, it's obvious we need to switch to private lessons. I'm looking for recommendations for a great instructor/ place. We live in Oakland but I'm willing to travel for someone great. I found Woody's Private Lessons on yelp, and we are on the waitlist, but it is very long. I'm hoping someone out there has another idea for me!

    Also, if you have advice/ encouragement / stories of what helped your kid overcome their fear of water, I'd love to hear it. 

    Thank you!!

    Sherman Swim in Lafayette is great.  My 2 kids learned there.  They have a website which you can google.

    Patti's Swim School in Castro Valley is a wonderful program and they helped my timid son overcome his fear of the water. http://pattisswimschool.com

    My son was not at all interested in learning to swim until he was 10.  At that age, group lessons were not going to work for him, so he did private lessons at Aquatech Swim in Alameda.  He is now 21 and has never become a water loving person, but he did learn to swim enough to be safe in the water and to be able to enjoy it with his friends.  His water-friendly younger sister also did private lessons there and enjoyed them.  The lessons weren’t cheap, but my son learned pretty quickly, so we didn’t end up doing them that long.  The other advantage to Aquatech for us is that it is an indoor facility, so we could go during the winter months.

    Check out Ohana Aquatics in the Oakland hills off Redwood Road. My child is in group lessons there but I believe they also do private lessons. I’ve really liked my daughter’s teacher. She was extremely fearful of the water and had made amazing progress in about nine months even in group lessons. 

    Hi! My son was a fearful swimmer as well. He did lessons at Tim Oliver swimming in Oakland which I believe is now called Ohana: https://www.ohanaaquatics.com/swim-lessons. Hang in there! It took him a long time to feel comfortable, but now he's 10 and swims like a champ. 


    we had a son who was afraid.  

    2 general ideas. 

    We found places that teach kids with special needs or autism are also good for kids with fear in general. 

    What worked best is a private instructor who since retired .  He took a different approach.  First he taught buoyancy.  He showed my son a water bottle with oxygen. How with air it is buoyant.   Then said that is how lungs work.  This was a breakthrough.  So my son would stay in the shallow end saying “I’m practicing my buoyancy”. For him, knowing there was a science to it and he could control it and practice it really helped.  Then once he got comfortable with that he could move on to lessons. 

    I have found with fear sometimes you have to take a step backwards and unpack it.  And a good teacher is helpful too.   Good luck. 

    My now 10 year old daughter took a few years to warm up to feeling comfortable in the water and from the age of 5-7 was also extremely averse to dunking her head under the surface and didn't want to learn how to swim. After a couple of group lessons when she was 6 or 7 we switched to private lessons (at the Albany Aquatic Center) to get one-on-one time. Best decision ever. It took several sessions over two years but her confidence level rose after each session and simply the fact that the instructors took time to figure out what the best learning method was for her was worth every penny. She can now do the front crawl for about half the length of the pool, backstroke for the entire length, dive for rings, and jump in from the edge of the pool. These private lessons also provide the opportunity to retain fun during lessons which is very important in order for the kid to stay motivated. And most importantly, in my opinion, is following your son's lead in terms of comfort level. While we stressed to our daughter that swimming is a life skill, we simply told her that not drowning is the whole goal of taking these lessons and that she can take all the time she needs. We also enticed her with the potential of having more fun during summer camps, birthday parties and hotel stays that involve swimming. So while it might take some time, with patience he's very likely to enjoy being in the water more and more. Good luck!

    I have been very very happy with Sherman Swim School in Lafayette. Katie, in particular, is excellent (she teaches my 2.5yo). I would give them a call, and ask if they have instructors available with experience with your son’s needs. Hopefully they will be able to help. Good luck, and hang in there! 

    My son was terrified of getting his face wet, let alone putting his head underwater. We had amazing results doing private lessons at Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante. He learned to swim the first summer of lessons, and he is now (after a few summers of swimming lessons there) a great swimmer.


    We also tried group lessons with my son (he's 6 now) and he didn't respond well to them. Last year we tried private lessons through the Emeryville Aquatics Center and he learned to swim very quickly. The instructors were all pretty young - late teens/early 20's - and very good with the kids. We especially took to Jackie and did 12 lessons with her. It's very affordable - I think we paid about $22 per lesson for 30 minutes. There are other instructors teaching one on one in the pool at the same time. It is an outdoor pool. https://www.ci.emeryville.ca.us/1256/Aquatics

    Good luck!

    My daughter didn't really learn until she was 8. Some kids just take longer. We never went as far as private lessons, but the classes at Tim Oliver in Oakland hills were small and she was sometimes by herself, esp during the winter months. (I think they have privates as well ) I appreciated the small private yard nextdoor where I could enjoy a little me time. Especially with an older kid, it's nice if you don't have to sit poolside the whole time. It was a bit of a drive for us from berkekey, but I enjoyed half an hour outside in a patklike setting by myself, and the instructors were very good.

    Agree, some kids just aren't ready at 6. I'd wait this year out. Try a short session in 2020, see how it goes. I have an 8 year old who still can't really swim, have wasted a lot of money on her lessons over the years. My 10 year old finally can swim, and lessons for him really kicked in when he was around 8. So I have hope for our late bloomers...

    When my son was three, I did a lot of research to find a swim program I thought would work for my too-frequently-wary-of-trying-new-things son. Thinking back to my own childhood, I made a mental list of all the things I hated about swim lessons: cold pools, not always so friendly instructors, one or two weeks sessions where I was expected to complete certain goals. I enrolled my son at a school where the water is 92 degrees farenheit, the classes were year round so that he learned at his own pace and comfort level, and the instructors were not under pressure to have the kids learn within a certain time frame, hence less pressure on the child. I enrolled my son in a class but there were never more than 5 or six in the class, and I think at a young age having other kids around might make it more interesting and fun for the child. Happy Fish Swim School is way down in Fremont (they have another school in Livermore), which is probably too far for you to want to drive, but I would keep in mind the things to look for in a swim school. Blowing bubbles was a big deal back then, now my 10-year-old son still swims at Happy Fish but just for fun and exercise. Good Luck!

    As the mom of a kid who loves to swim and swims pretty well, I would like to add the following to this topic: Due mainly to time and money concerns, I signed up my daughter for just one 6 or 8-week group swimming lesson session per year for ages 3-10 years old. The rest of the time we would go to (cheap) unstructured family swim hours almost every week and just play around together, or, when she got older, with other kids. I think this helped her love the water and to see it as fun, rather than being just like water-school. She really progressed on her own from year to year, just by playing in the water. Good luck.

    Are you sure he is afraid of the water? Maybe he isn't comfortable with the pool environment or maybe he doesn't trust the teacher. I would stop pushing and just let him go at his own pace. Maybe if you played games with him in the water it would help. 

  • Hi everyone,

    We just moved to the area (North Berkeley), and are looking for weekend swim lessons for our 2 and 4 year olds. Both are total beginners. Any recs are appreciated!



    I would recommend Albany high school aquatic center. They have Tiny Tots class for kids from 3 month to 6 years. Please check it out here: https://apm.activecommunities.com/ahsaquaticcenter/Activity_Search?Acti…

  • We have been doing private swim lessons at the YMCA on Saturdays but it is getting increasingly difficult to sign up for lessons due to limited availability and high demands. I spent all day refreshing the Y website every 15 min. to try to sign up for a private lesson. I took a quick break and came back to my computer to sign up and all the slots were gone in the 30 min. I was gone! What are full-time working parents supposed to do? Most of the YMCA swim lessons are on weekday afternoon!

    Our kid is shy and hasn't done very well in group lessons and we're committed to making sure that the kid learns to swim. Unfortunately, I'm not a strong swimmer and don't know how to teach my kid. The kid is 5 years old. Does anyone know of any other place where we can get private swim lessons for the kid? 

    I'm in the same boat as you! I'm going to check out Aquatech in Alameda. It looks promising, and I'd love to see what others say.

    Tim Oliver Swimming offers private lessons but even better, his instructors tend to work with groups of only 3-4 kids. This is where my son learned, after tough experiences at Aquatech and the Y, both of which were too noisy, intimidating, crowded, etc. It's a great school, IMO, and they're actually outdoors in the summer, in a very warm location - which just changes everything.

    • 12000 Campus Dr Oakland, CA 94619b/t Redwood Rd & Sereno Cir Oakland Hills
    •  Phone number(510) 759-2782 
    • Business websitetimoliverswimming.com

    It's a bit of a drive, but Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante is excellent and offers weekend lessons.  They also offer evening lessons during the week for working parents.  They are pretty pricey, but totally worth it.  Check them out!

    Our daughter took lessons for years at the Y, and it was definitely frustrating trying to sign up for classes there. Eventually she moved to the Berkeley city swim team at King pool on Hopkins; that's where she really, truly learned to swim. They also have private lessons there, and I appreciated the programming there. 

    It may be too far for you but we have have great experiences with our son learning to swim at Patti's Swim School in Castro Valley. The semi-private lessons, not so much since the learning time is only 15 minutes. But private lessons are 20 minutes and often the instructors will stay with the kid for the full 30 min. Our 3 year old has gone from no swimming at all last year to being able to swim across the pool this year. 

    Harriet Plummer Aquatic School in Lafayette, if it’s not too far to go. 

    AquaTech in Alameda.  Private or small groups.

    Sherman Swim School, in Lafayette! So very worth the drive thru the tunnel. The weather is always warm, the water is always warm, the instructors are wonderful. Your child will make huge strides in a short amount of time. They seem to specialize in shy, reticent little swimmers!

    Emeryville pool has private weekend lessons. Patient teachers. Nice pool. 

    You've already gotten some good answers about other options for swim classes. If you want to continue with the Berkeley Y, I suggest that you abandon any attempt to use their website and instead either call and/or go in person to make arrangements for lessons. I have complained *repeatedly* (in person, at the front desk) about the lack of timely information on the website, but to no avail, and the only solution I've ever found was to call and call and call again, and email multiple times. Good luck!

    Woody's private swimming lessons at the Bellevue Club right by Lake Merritt is also very good. 

  • Any recommendations for group swim classes after school for a 5, 6, and 8 year-old?  Thank you.

    Lots of options!  Depends on where you live. Downtown Berkeley YMCA has many classes my son has enjoyed.  I know lots of kids who like the classes at Albany Pool at Albany High School. It's indoor like the Y which is great. BUT you have to sign up early, they fill quickly -check the City of Albany website for info. Also Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante is really nice, it's outdoor but heated and very warm. Not very convenient to get to if you're coming from Oakland or Berkeley in traffic though..

  • Our four year old daughter is motivated to learn to swim. We have her in group lessons right now in Albany, which she is enthusiastically enjoying, but we feel she may benefit from some one-on-one instruction to get her from kicking and splashing around to swimming independently. Of course, the instructor makes all the difference, so we wanted to see if anyone had a particular instructor they recommend. It could be a particular instructor with any of the programs in the area (city of El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley YMCA, Canyon Swim School), or someone who teaches independently. We may be willing to drive for the right person, but were hoping to find someone in El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley, or El Sobrante. 

    Thank you!

    I highly recommend AquaTech in Alameda. We live in South Berkeley and did lessons for +2yrs at Albany HS Aquatic, which ended up being both a waste of time and money (you're right that the right instructor makes a big difference and it seemed hit or miss at Albany). My kids (ranging from 2yrs-5yrs at the time) would often finish lessons with the top half of their bodies completely dry... after a swim class?! After the +2yrs, although my kids loved going swimming, they didn't enjoy lessons nor putting their faces or heads in the water. We've been at AquaTech for less than 6 months and my now 6yo is full on swimming with his face in the water and my 4yo is dunking her head and learning proper swim form and technique. And they actually look forward to lessons now! Don't go off of the online schedule - you need to call in. Many times, my kids are the only ones in class with their instructor so it's like a private lesson for the cost of a group. Can't recommend AquaTech enough!!

  • Hi all,

    Is there anyplace in the East Bay that offers swimming lessons for kids, once a week, NOT on the weekend?  My kids are 7 and 4, beginning level swimmers, and they both LOVE the water--they're super enthusiastic anytime we go to an open swim session.  They've taken swim classes a few times over the years, but never consistently; we did Saturday lessons for a while, but ended up having too many time conflicts with birthday parties, playdates, extended family events, etc. 

    Every place I've looked, classes during the week meet a minimum of 2 days/week, and once-a-week classes are limited to Saturdays.  I've looked at many different facilities, in Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito (we live in North Oakland).  I work full-time, so schlepping to swim class 2 nights a week (or more!) after a long day at school and work just feels like too much for all of us, but one weeknight would be workable. I know swimming is an important safety skill, and my kids are just so happy whenever they're in the water, so I'm hoping to find something that will work!

    Thanks in advance for your recommendations :)

    Aquatech in Alameda runs swimming lessons M-F. They have a lot of time slots from morning to late in the evening. We have been going there for almost 3 years and our daughter has learned a lot. The facility is clean and the teachers are great. You can choose to go there once a week and you are also to do makeups if you cancel on time. 

    Aquatech in Alameda has once a week classes. That's what we do. Terrific place, great staff. You might have to be on a wait list for a while if you have preferred times and days. 

    Tim Oliver Swimming off the Redwood Heights exit of Hwy. 13. They have classes in the afternoons/evening during the week and you can choose to go 1x/week (both my kids do). We having been going for years, my kids love it, and the teachers are great. They are also very flexible about cancellations/make-ups. 100% recommend!

    Hi! Have you checked out your local YMCA?  We take swim lessons at the one in Pleasant Hill and they have a very flexible schedule - both morning/afternoon/early evening and during the week as well as on weekends.  One of my friends even set up a separate schedule with our location because none of the other classes would work with his schedule.  Maybe ask and see what they can do for you?

    good luck!!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Swim ''Clinic'' for 5-yr-old?

May 2013

I'm curious about ''beginning'' swim teams for very young children. A friend of mine in the city said that her young daughter started out with a swim ''clinic,'' which met less often and was more low-key than a full-on team. Does anyone know of anything like that here in the east bay? We're located in East Oakland, but are fine with driving to Berkeley, Alameda, Orinda or Montclair (those are areas that I think may have swim teams happening).

Our daughter will turn 5 in early September and will be starting kindergarten a week before that. Her school has an extended school day, starting in K (8:30-3:15!), which will be a HUGE change for her. She currently attends preschool 3 mornings per week, and has for 2.5 yrs. But I am a full time SAHM with her and her little sister, so... She's used to a lot of free time, personalized attention, etc. I predict this transition to be a big one. Which is why I want to be careful about taking on other new challenges right away. (Another thing is that most of the kids at her new school are fluent Spanish speakers and she is not- yet. But that adds another layer of potential challenges to her, all around the same time.)

The thing is, she's really enjoying her swimming classes and it has been suggested to me that she may be a great candidate for swim team. She tends to thrive on competition (which she gets from my partner- not me!), so... I want to support her in that vein. It's not a huge deal, we could always wait until the following year (and just keep up with her lessons), but I thought I'd throw it out there. If anyone has any suggestions and/or leads for me I'd sure appreciate it. thanks

Tim Oliver Swimming http://timoliverswimming.com/ near the intersection of 13 and 580 has a developmental swim team that sounds like it would be a perfect fit. Kids are not required to attend any minimum number of days per week, and they can go as many as 3 times per week. The teachers/coaches are great and it's a wonderful and supportive environment.

Swim Schools in Lamorinda/WC area for 3 & 6 year olds

Jan 2013

I have a three year old and a six year old who need to learn to swim this spring. I have done some preliminary research and the following three schools look like good options for us. We are in the Lamorinda area - has anyone had kids who have learned to swim at these schools? Please share any positives or negatives about your experience. Thank you!
Splash Swim School - Walnut Creek
Harriet Plummer Aquatic School - Lafayette
Little Dippers Aquatic Center - Concord

Mama of baby guppies

My daughter had swim lessons with Harriet Plummer in Lafayette quite a few years ago. Harriet is wonderful! My daughter became an excellent swimmer and participated on swim teams through high school and still loves swimming today.

We go to Harriet Plummer, and we love it. My child is super cautious, but under their tutelage she has turned into a water loving little fish. Amanda

Winter weekend swim class for reluctant 5 year-old?

Dec 2012

Our exuberantly obstinate five-year-old says he doesn't want to learn to swim--and he's proven it by participating in two years of on-and-off (but mostly on) swim classes at the Berkeley Y without mastering any swim skills at all. We've tried both private and group lessons. He's reluctant to put his face in the water, but this really doesn't seem to be about fear. Any advice on what to try next? We live in North Oakland, both work, and are not inclined to spend a ton more money on this endeavor. Mother of a landlubber

We have had good success with Aquatech. They have A LOT of classes all week and on the weekends. We started my daughter when she was 3 and a half last march (she wouldn't put her head in the water either) and now she can swim without assistance with her head under water. I am not sure about the Y, but Aquatech has the kids use goggles. The classes are ongoing and once they master the skills required to move up levels, they move them up automatically and the kids get a ribbon. My daughter is pretty proud of her ribbons. It is in Alameda, just on the other side of the tunnel. We have been pretty happy with them. Mom of a reluctant mermaid

Try Tim Oliver swimming. Tim Oliver is a good coach and can provide some advice. Maybe call first. Anon

Indoor swimming lessons w/small class-size for timid 4.5yo

Jan 2012

My 4.5 yr old daughter loves to be in water and wants to swim, but is shy and is terrified of classes. We tried this summer and she literally clung to my husband, who had to get in with her (while the rest of the children happily jumped in on their own, etc.). She's been asking to go swimming, so I'm hoping to find a place with an indoor pool with a very small class-size.. We're in Oakland (but would travel up to 20 mins or so). Thanks! Melissa

Try Aquatech in Alameda (they also have a site in Concord). It's just through the Webster tube. Both of my kids go there, one of whom was very fearful. They have classes every day, all day, so they are able to keep class sizes small. Max class size appears to be 4 kids, although plenty of times my kids end up with just 1 or 2 kids in the class! Amy

I'm not sure about their class size, but I know that AquaTech Swim School hosts indoor swim classes at Mariner Square Athletic Club in Alameda (right next to the Webster tunnel). You could also look into the Hayward Plunge and/or the (Point) Richmond Natatorium, which are both indoor pools. Good luck, and if you find a great one, would you mind emailing me? I'm looking to get my son involved in swim classes within the next year or so but haven't started doing serious research yet. Cara

Aquatech swim school in Alameda (at a facility called Mariner Square) has class sizes of 3, 4 or 6, depending on what level your child is. They have platforms in the water so the kids can relax & be in the water for the full 30 minutes. My son began at the lowest level and the ratio was 3:1. The instructors are great and they are understanding of little ones and work well when your youngster is having a bad day! They make it manageable for your child and give them confidence in the water. It's not that long that your child will feel it's torturous, but it's long enough that they make progress.

I would say they are well worth the money, because, in the end, it is a safety issue. My son now pushes off the wall, kicks by himself, rolls over on his back, floats, jumps in off the side and is willing to not only get his face wet, he is willing to submerge! These are all things he wouldn't do- even with me in the pool right beside him. If you are coming from Oakland to Alameda, they are right through the tube.

I think you'll be impressed with how they set up the lessons-not only do they have instructors in the water, they have people posted around the pool keeping an eye on the little ones who are waiting for their turn (the ones the instructor is not working with). So your child is safe at all times and supervised. They are a program which is definitely worth checking out. Good luck. Mom of a developing swimmer

Try Patti's Swim School in Castro Valley. The instructors there are AWESOME and classes are small. We did private lessons for a very frightened 3 year old. Their patience with her was amazing! Happy Swimming

Dear Melissa, I would like to recommend two wonderful teachers who do private swimming lessons with children: Hayley Peirsol and Kim Vandenburg. My children did not want to take lessons and struggled with classes at other facilities. They learned very little as the classes were too big. They now take lessons with Hayley and Kim and LOVE the classes. They have asked repeatedly to take more classes and have the instruction times be twice as long. They can be contacted at kvberg [at] mac.com and aislingtwelve [at] gmail.com. Ina

Looking for a swimming instructor for children 4-10

Oct 2011

Hi, I'm asking for a friend who's looking for a great swimming instructor for her daughter. She also has another friend who is looking for the same for her children. The children range in age from 4- 10. They are looking for someone who's located or could travel to the Berkeley/Albany and Kensington areas. Thanks for helping out with your suggestions. anonymous

I have discovered 2 amazing swim teachers that do private lessons: Kim Vandenberg (kvberg [at] mac.com) and Hayley Peirsol (aislingtwelve [at] gmail.com). Each gave my sons a 1/2 hour lesson and both boys wanted many more lessons after it was over--this was after many complaints of taking lessons at all. They both felt that they had learned a lot in that 30 minutes. Hayley and Kim are both professional swimmers and are kind, fun, and give clear instructions.

Swim classes for 4.5 year old who needs a little push

Sept 2011

Hello- Since moving to the East Bay I've had a hard time finding the right swim classes for my 4.5 yo son. We've been taking lessons at Canyon all summer and now need to find indoor classes as the season closes. My son needs a kind and consistent teacher who will push him and not back down from his insistent cries that he can't do something. He has fun in the water but needs help reaching his potential. I'm thinking of singing up for classes at the Berkeley Y and was wondering if people could share their experiences with me. Thanks! looking for swim whisperer

We've had only great experiences with the Y's swim classes, with my daughter attending them all year round for the past 3 years. She started at 4.5 and would not put her face in the water with her parents. She was doing it on day one in the class with no tears. She is now an avid and excellent swimmer, joining the swim team at the Y. We're about to start with our 4.5-year-old son, so maybe we'll see you there!

If you are thinking of swim lessons at the Y, don't waste your time and money with the nightmare of group lessons. The pool and locker room are very crowded and the kids are distracted. Invest in private or semi private lesson. After almost two years of group lessons we saw little results. When we switched to semi private lessons, the kids were actually swimming within a few classes. Totally worth every penny. And it's obvious that all the instructors love their job. Swim mom

My daughter has been taking swim lessons this summer at Tim Oliver and will continue through the winter because they have a tent they put over the entire pool in the cold and rainy months. She has learned an incredible amount and I have found their combination of encouragement and firmness to be a good fit for her. We took classes all last summer at the Sherman Swim School (which was fine) but we like Tim Oliver better. We live in South Berkeley and it takes about 15 min. Also, for what it's worth, I think private lessons are more efficient and cost-effective in the long run. Susan

Private swim lessons for 3.5-yo around Berkeley?

Feb 2011

Hello -- I want to take my 3.5 year old to swim classes but as a working mom the drive to Canyon, Haufler, or Harriet Plummer is impractical. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with private lessons at the downtown Berkeley Y? I'm also wondering if there are any experienced private swim instructors who work near Berkeley. Our child has never taken any swim classes, so he would be starting fresh. S

My daughter has been taking private swim lessons through the City of Berkeley at the King Pool on Hopkins Street in North Berkeley, and she finally learned how to swim. The only downside is that, although the pool is heated, it is outside. Google ''City of Berkeley Aquatics'' for current schedule and cost. Robin

Private swim lessons for 3.5-yo around Berkeley?

Feb 2011

Hello -- I want to take my 3.5 year old to swim classes but as a working mom the drive to Canyon, Haufler, or Harriet Plummer is impractical. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with private lessons at the downtown Berkeley Y? I'm also wondering if there are any experienced private swim instructors who work near Berkeley. Our child has never taken any swim classes, so he would be starting fresh. S

My daughter has been taking private swim lessons through the City of Berkeley at the King Pool on Hopkins Street in North Berkeley, and she finally learned how to swim. The only downside is that, although the pool is heated, it is outside. Google ''City of Berkeley Aquatics'' for current schedule and cost. Robin

2009 - 2010 Recommendations

Want to be in pool with 4 year old for lessons

May 2010

My four year old daughter hasn't taken any swimming lessons yet, and it's high time. We live in central/east Oakland. Which places do you recommend that allow parents in the pool with this age group, give plenty of individualized attention, have good instruction, and also have lots of fun? I'm currently considering Mills and Tim Oliver. Thanks! late starter

We've had a great experience with the lessons at Roberts Pool, up in the hills near Chabot Space center. I'm not sure if they let parents in, or how many openings they still have for this summer. But the head guy is approachable and may be willing to work with you. The instructors seem to do a good job of tailoring the lessons to the kids, getting the shy or scared kids into the pool and involved. The number is 1-888-EBPARKS (1-888-327-2757), option 2. My son has learned a lot there the last two summers. Bryan in Oakland

Swim lessons for 4 year old

Jan 2010

Hi, Could someone recommend some great swim clases for children? Our 4 year old wants to take lessons and we would appreciate any feedback on great instruction for kids swimming. Thanks so much, Angie

We are a big fan of the Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante. We tried the Y, we tried the now defunct Albany pool and none of these places matched Canyon for the commitment of their instructors, their effective program, and their results. Our child has been going there for years and has excellent skills and confidence in the water. www.canyonswimschool.com KK

Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante is the best! We tried several other places, and lessons didn't work at all. At one place I actually had to get in the water and help the instructor! Then I found Canyon. My kids took lessons there for 5 years. The teachers are experienced with kids and with swimming, and they have a method that works. They start lessons in April, I think. Their number is (510) 223-4600, website: www.canyonswimschool.com Good luck Pat

Aquatech at Mariner's Square in Alameda is great. Our 4yo went from afraid to be in the pool to swimming in less than a year! My older daughter has become a much stronger swimmer which was very reassuring during our trip to Hawaii. The classes are 30 min with 1-4 kids to a teacher. They have multiple levels and the kids get ribbons as they advance from starfish to Orca. It is just on the otherside of the Webster tube. swimmer's mom

my kids go to Canyon swim school in El Sobrante. They went to the Oakland Y once a week for a year when they were 2 and 4 years old. During that year they had fun and the 4 year old learned to put his face in the water (not his head) and to sort of steer while kicking with a kick board, the younger made no progress that was tangible. Within a month of going to canyon swim school in El Sobrante (twice a week), they were both doing things happily that they had never even tried at the Y. anon

Swim class for 4 and 7 year olds

March 2009

I need classes for my two kids my daughter is 7 and my son is 4 and are eager to learn, if you know a public place were i can take them please tell me. thanks

You don't say where you are located, but Oakland Parks and Rec does kids swimming lessons at a number of pools around the city. My daughter (4 1/2) is currently taking their Tiny Tots program at De Fremery pool; last year we did a parent/child class together. Carrie

I used to take my kids to the Berkeley Y for swimming, but didn't like the ratio of kids to teacher, the hassle of parking, and the slow progress they made.

I then found out about Haufler Acquatics via BPN. I was really happy with them - excellent ratio, daily except Fridays, good variety of teachers. No website, only phone: 510/446-7946 I've also heard positive things about Oakland Park and Rec swimming, but find their website difficult. They hold their lessons at a variety of pools. https://securerw.oaklandnet.com/registrationmain.sdi Search by category: Swimming, then look for Youth Learn to Swim. I also looked into lessons at the Orinda Park Pool. http://www.orindaparkpool.org/tm_swlessons.html Ellen

2007 - 2008 Recommendations

Morning Swim Class for 4 year old

Sept 2008

I'm looking for a weekday morning or weekday 2 or 3pm swim class for my 4 year old. Can anyone recommend one within reasonable distance from Rockridge? Thanks so much! (The Berkeley and Oakland YMCAs only have morning classes on Saturdays, and don't currently offer early afternoon classes.) (We're aiming for early bedtimes.)

My son is an instructor at Aquatech Swim School http://www.aquatechswimschool.com/ They have a wonderful program that allows kids to graduate from one swimming level to the next. It's right on the other side of the Alameda Tube and a convenient location. They have an indoor poor for swim lessons all year.

Here is the exact email I just got from the berkeley Y - because I was also curious about a swim class for my 3 year old. For our pre-school lessons we have a few options. Our first option is to attend one of our 4 week sessions (classes meet 2x week for 4 weeks). These classes are offered on Monday/Wednesdays or Tuesday/Thursdays. The second option is to attend one of our 8 week sessions (classes meet 1x week for 8 weeks). These classes are offered on Saturdays and Friday mornings. g

Outdoor Parent-Child Swim Class for 3-year-old?

August 2008

Hello, I'd like to help my shy and water-shy 3-year-old daughter get comfortable in the water and am looking for a good class/pool. I fear anything where I'm not allowed to be with her in the water would be a no-go for her. To add to this, she is mildly asthmatic and eczematic so chlorine levels in water and air (vapor) are a concern. Does anyone know of an open-air, not-too-chlorinated pool in or near Berkeley where they allow parents in the water with the kids? We are open to either late-August or early fall classes. Thanks! --Not Mermaids Yet

For this question and the one about toddler swim classes, I highly recommend Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante (510-223-4600). The parking lot is on San Pablo Dam Rd, just past Appian Way. I first heard of this place ~24 years ago, from a mom who lived the other side of Montclair (from Berkeley). It is true that gas was cheaper then, but the warm water, small classes, and high quality of the teachers can't be beat. My kids are now 18-29, but I have taken other kids here more recently (as well as to other swim classes) as an occasional summer nanny - this still gets my vote as the best place for your kid to learn to love swimming and become proficient at it. The youngest class is for baby and mom, and the classes progress up through competitive swim techniques like flip turns, etc. The classes usually have about 4 kids per teacher. What I found to be a real plus was that if a child was afraid to try something, rather than ignore the child, or make the other 3 wait for ! eons, an extra teacher came out of the office to help with the child that was anxious. Anxious child was happy, other kids weren't frustrated - great all the way around. teachergran

Swim lessons for 5-y-o with selective mutism

May 2008

I'm looking for someone to teach my 5 yr old grandson to swim. He has selective mutism and needs a special environment where I can be in the pool with him. All the places I've looked at thus far require that caregivers are not in the pool, sometimes not even in the area. It would be great if his 3 yr old twin sisters could also be in the pool, learning to swim, as this would make him more comfortable (and teach them to swim). If anyone has any ideas, I would be appreciative. Thank you. mj

My children have been taking private lessons at AquaTech Swim School in Alameda since the beginning of March and they both love it. Recently, a boy with autism has started lessons at the same time we are there and I've been very impressed with the way the teacher (Adrienne) interacts with him and his progress. Family members have gotten in the pool with him, so I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem. I would definitely contact them to discuss your grandson's situation. It's quite possible they could arrange lessons with a different teacher for your granddaughters at the same time. Here's the contact information: http://www.aquatechswimschool.com/ Phone number is: (510) 337-0200 Happy Swim Mom

Solo swim class for 4.5-year old?

May 2008

I'm looking for a group swim class in Berkeley or Albany that my 4.5-year-old daughter can take by herself (i.e., I don't have to get in with her). An added bonus would be that I could take my 1-year-old into the pool while she's having her lesson. I thought the city of Berkeley let 4-year-olds take classes without parents, but it looks the age limit is 5. My daughter is almost swimming and very very interested and independent. Keri

Well, it's not in Berkeley or Albany, but we drive down to Aquatech Swim school in Alameda. I needed lessons for my son that I didn't need to get in the water for, and they have them. They are great and I highly recommend them. Mama of a Solo Swimmer

Swim Lessons for 4-year-old, without mom in the water

Sept 2007

I'm looking for someone skilled to give swim lessons to my 4-year-old and her friend privately so that I would not have to be in the water (I have a baby). In Berkeley if possible, or nearby. Thanks!

Although they are not in Berkeley, I HIGHLY recommend Aqua Tech Swim at Mariner Square in Alameda http://aquatechswimschool.com/. They do offer private lessons, but their maximum student to teacher ratio is 3:1, so you could save a lot of money if your child and her friend are in a class, plus one other student.

The teachers are great--and the staff work really hard to ensure that the kids are learning and progressing. The pool is indoors and parents are not required to get into the pool at all.

My kids have been at aquatech for awhile and we are very happy. happy mom of fish children

2005 - 2006 Recommendations

Swimming lesson for 3yo (need to also take my 9mo)

March 2006

I would like to sign my 3yo up for a swim class. (He hasn't really ever spent any time in a pool.) I also have a 9mo whom I would need to take to the lesson. I think some classes don't require parent participation, but I know my son would want me to participate while he's learning something new. I wouldn't feel comfortable taking the 9mo with me in the pool. Know any instructors/clubs who are experienced dealing with this? mom needs ideas

Your son's old enough to take lessons at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA (my 3.5 y/o is taking lessons now - he's a ''pike'') w/out you if you want to give it a try. The instructors are very patient and sweet w/ the little guys. OR - you can do a parent/ child class to start (he'll prob be the oldest kid, but who cares? It's fun for both of you!) And bring your baby to childwatch while you both take the class. Give them a call and talk to Beth, the Assoc. Aquatic Director for more info. Water Babies' Mom

Swim classes for 2-yo and 5-yo

Jan 2006

Can anyone recommend a swim class appropriate for me or my husband to take our 2 and 5 year old boys? I recall there was one at the Berkeley High warm pool, does that class still exist? I'm looking for classes other than those offered at the Berkeley YMCA, for some reason my husband wants to look elsewhere... Thanks.

Have you looked into the Albany pool. It's an indoor pool, warmish, around 84 degrees. They have parents and tots classes for small people and then more advanced classes (without parents in the water) for older ones. If you went on Saturday mornings you can almost do them back to back. The parents and tots teacher, Shirley, has been doing the classes for years. The facilities are quite a bit funkier than the Y however, but then you don't have to pay for a membership etc...either. andrea

We tried several places, but found the best place to be Canyon in El Sobrante. It is a bit of a drive but well worth it. For one thing it tends to be a bit warmer than Berkeley (I am talking about Spring and Summer). The pool is heated and they have the most wonderful instructors as well as smaller classes. If you start in the Winter I think Albany's indoor pool would be a good place. I love to swim

Swim classes for 3-yo and 6-yo

Dec 2005

We are trying to find a really good place to take our children (3-6 years old) for swimming lessons. We have already tried Strawberry Canyon, the Berkeley YMCA, and Canyon Swim Lessons (El Sobrante). But does anyone know of a place for swim lessons with great, experienced teachers, a warm pool, decent facilities, good management, and parking? We are willing to pay more and to travel a bit farther (from Berkeley) if necessary for the right place. Has anyone tried the El Cerrito Community Pool for lessons? Thanks!

I can't say enough great things about Sherman Swim School in Lafayette. They teach children from infant on up. The pool is warm-90 degrees-which takes the whole cold factor out so they can learn! It's warm outside and it has covered UV shade over the pool, so no sunburns. The teachers are well trained, kind and have boundless patience. The lessons are only 15 minutes for 4-5 and under and 30 minutes once they have a longer attention span and more skills. This keeps everything fun, warm and moving. They are private lessons. While it might seem like a lot of drive all the way there for 15 minutes (we live in El Cerrito) is has been well worth it. My son has been going since he was 2 years old, he is now six and surfs-by himself- boggie boards, kayaks and has a great time in the water. My daughter is three and loves the water too. We are a water family and while we don't push for ex.''you have to surf'' the swim lessons are a must. El Cerrito's lessons are fine but the weather is cold and windy most of the time. We drive to Lafayette and love it. It's also samll and friendly. swim mom

I can't say enough good things about Harriet Plummer's Aquatic School in Lafayette. 30 years of experience, warm pool (even a bubble and 90+ water in winter!), proven methods, convenient location right off of Hwy 24, 15-minute lessons for the little ones, reasonably priced. We took our daughters to Harriet when they were each 3 years old. She's taken them from putting their little faces in the water at 3yrs old to stroke refinement at 10 yrs old. In 10 years of living in the East Bay, I've never heard anything but raves review about Harriet! Swimmers' Mom

I take my son to Aqua Stars Swim School in Lafayette. It's a swim school run out of the woman's house. She offers private lessons for 15 to 30 minutes at a time. Monday-Thursdays 0900- 4ish. You pick a time that is available and that is your slot for as long as you continue lessons. What's great is that the pool is always heated to at least 90 and during the winter months, she has this huge bubble dome (6 feet high) that encloses the pool so that it stays quite warm inside this bubble (like a mild sauna). This, of course, allows for year round swim lessons and not just in the good weather months. The teachers are quite good and patient. You enter at the side of the house and there is a changing room and bathroom in the back area by the pool. She usually offers 4 week sessions at a time. The number there is 925-283-7119. anon

My son took swimming lessons also at the YMCA, Strawberry Canyon, Canyon swim school and addionally at Campolinda highschool. Nothing worked. He refused to get his head under water, and I was exhausted and out $600+!! Then I found out about Harriett Plummer Aquatics in Lafayette (Just off hwy 24 on the Pleasant Hill Road Exit). The drive was WORTH IT. Harriet has operated a swim school for over 25 years out of her home. She has a tried and true swim instruction method and experienced swim instructors (who are long term employees). They teach specific things on each day of instruction. Classes are individual and only 15 minutes long, and she's a bit expensive. But totally worth it. My son had his head under water in the first lesson, and was swimming across the pool by the 2nd month (only after 6 lessons). In the winter she covers her pool with a big dome to keep it warm - you have to enter via a zippered opening. She has a comfortable dressing room and parking. You might say, ''why should I spend all that money for a class that is 15 minutes long''! The class is your child and the instructor, which means your child gets individual attention instead of hanging onto the side of the pool waiting for 5-6 other kids. They pack a lot of instruction into 15 minutes. Then at the end of the class, your child doesn't want to leave, and says that was quick! Children don't get burnt out in a long 30 min. class. I cannot say enough about her and her swim school. I wish I didn't waste my time and money on all the other swim schools! Harriet can be reached at 925 943-7331 Maya

I've been taking my 2 year old son to La Petite Baleen in San Bruno. It's excellent, and meets all your requirements. It's a bit far, about 45 minutes, but worth it. Check out their website: http://www.swimlpb.com/ Mom of a baby fishy

Weekly swim lessons for 3-y-o

Mar 2005

Does anybody know of a swim program that offers classes at the same time each week rather than a continuous program? I would love to sign my 3-year-old up for a swim class every Friday this summer if one is available. Jessica

The Downtown Berkeley YMCA has swimming lessons on Friday mornings at 10 or 10:30am. The swimming lessons are in a shallow, warm pool and the teachers are trained to teach skills in a fun way. Call the YMCA for more details (510-848-9622) or check their website at www.baymca.org. Paula

Afternoon swim lessons for 5-year-old

Mar 2005

I'm looking for an afternoon swim class for my 5 yo in the Oakland/Lamorinda area for this summer. I'd like to find a class for him rather than private instruction. He's a beginner. Thanks for any suggestions. Trying to plan


  • Berkeley City Pools
  • Haufler Aquatics Swim School Oakland
    If you live in Lamorinda, the Canyon Swim School in El Sobrante would be a relatively easy commute. However, if you are in Oakland it would be terrible! I tried Canyon after being dissatisfied with teaching abilities of the young instructors at the Berkeley YMCA. All of the instructors at Canyon are adults, and I have been very pleased with their teaching abilities. After a week at Canyon, my 4 year old went from bobbing to swimming across the pool. We continued that season and the next, and I've been pleased with her progress. The sign-up process may seem a bit disorganized at first, but once you're in it gets easier. Call them at 223-4600 to get a brochure. Sessions are already starting and continue through the summer. Maria

    2003 - 2004 Recommendations

    Winter swim lessons for 5-year-old

    Oct 2004

    I'm looking for winter-time swim lessons for my beginner-level, almost-5-year-old. We did classes at the Berkeley Y last year, which were ok, but the pool was too deep for her to touch bottom, and the instructors weren't as attentive as we'd have liked. We LOVED the Canyon Swim School this summer, but it's not open in the winter. Any suggestions? Warm, shallow, great teachers??? Thanks. Heidi


  • Albany Pool
  • Berkeley Bears

my 6 year old daughter takes private swim lessons in lafayette, all year round by Harriet Plummer Aquatics. She has a covering over the heated pool in the winter and the water is very warm. I cannot speak highly enough of this program. it got my (then) 4 year old who was afraid to put her head under the water to swim across the pool within one week. we have had all the teachers and they all are great (altho if you are lucky enough to get harriet, she's the best) i don't have the number handy but she's probably listed in lafayette under harriet plummer. betty

Instructor for four 5-year-olds

May 2003

Four families in search of a swim instructor to teach in an Orinda backyard pool. All four children are at five years old and can swim at differing levels. We're looking for someone from a high school or college swim team who is enthusiastic, friendly, and willing to teach with some of us parents in the pool (for the more fearful of the four kids!). Can provide transportation to Orinda from Oakland or Berkeley. Please write me back and let me know if you have any folks in mind who would be interested in doing this - we're ready and raring to go! Thanks - Julie

I would check with the folks at Strawberry Canyon. They offer private swim lessons and we have had great luck with the teachers. They seem to be very bright and motivated students with really good training. swimmom