Mommy and Me swim class teaches water basics

8-15 kidsswim

By STEPHEN DAWKINS

Staff Writer

A child’s introduction to water and swimming needs to be fun and build confidence.

“We make it fun because if you make it fun, they’re going to learn a lot quicker,” said Jo-Ann Moulin, swim instructor, lifeguard and exercise physiologist with St. Vincent’s 119.

Moulin teaches a “Mommy and Me” aquatics class for children and parents.

The class is held from 11:15-11:45 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and from 10-10:30 a.m. on Saturdays, at St. Vincent’s 119, located at 7191 Cahaba Valley Road, Birmingham.

A class consists of eight sessions. The twice-weekly schedule starts over every month, while the weekend schedule starts over every two months.

The next class will begin Sept. 7 because of the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 5.

Moulin said the class is held year-round if there is enough demand. Participation usually dwindles in the winter months, though the class is held at the facility’s indoor, heated pool.

Classes are usually limited to 10-12 children because there is one instructor, and organizers want to ensure children receive plenty of time to learn.

Moulin said instruction focuses first on safety—then having fun in the water.

Classes include the children and their parents working on swimming skills by playing interactive games, singing songs and playing with floating toys.

“We teach parents not to be nervous in the water because then the child will be nervous,” Moulin said.

Activities and skills taught include blowing bubbles, floating on their back, front and back glides, kicking their legs, putting their face under the water, going under water and jumping into the water.

The class is targeted at children ranging in ages from six months to three years.

The idea is that after becoming familiar with the water after the Mommy and Me class, children would be ready for swim lessons, but there are benefits beyond preparing for the next step in learning to swim.

“They are getting comfortable in the water, so if they ever go to the beach or pool or lake, they’ll have fun,” Moulin said and added that some participants have signed up for several classes in a row because they found them so enjoyable. “It also helps with motor skills. If they’re not walking, it will help them walk faster.”

There are also benefits associated with socializing with other children and parents, Moulin said.

Registration in the American Red Cross-certified, eight-session class costs $90 for non-members and $50 for members.

For more information, call the Aquatics Department at 408-6533 or visit OneNineteen.com and click on “Fitness” then “Aquatics.”