Pool Rules – Ginger Blackman

POOL RULES/LESSON GUIDELINES – MASTER INSTRUCTOR GINGER BLACKMAN

REGISTRATION
Registration fees are due at the time of registration and are NON-REFUNDABLE. The registration fee covers the cost of registration review and insurance requirements. The Registration Fee for new students is $50 or $25 for returning students, and is valid for the current calendar yearYou will receive the link to pay for your child’s first week of lessons once this registration packet has been submitted and a tentative time slot and start date have been confirmed. 

LESSON PAYMENTS
Swim Safe Now Lessons at MI Swim School are $80 per week (CASH) per child.  Add $5 for check or PayPal payments.   A $10 discount may be applied for siblings in lessons at the same time as well as for active duty military, law enforcement and first responders. Your first week’s payment is due in advance via one of these methods once you register and schedule lessons as a deposit to confirm and hold your time slot and start date.  Unfortunately, the fee for lessons cannot be prorated, as you are paying for a weekly time slot whether or not your child comes to all scheduled lessons. Lesson payments are due by Thursday for the following week. You are welcome to prepay for multiple weeks if desired.

LESSON CANCELLATIONS
Instructor cancellations including any pool closures, illness, inclement weather, or an emergency may be made up at the end of lessons or may be used as refresher or maintenance lessons through the end of current calendar year. Up to 2 lessons may be used as make-up days for parent cancellations. 

ATTENDANCE
Consistency is crucial to not only the learning process, but also to the retention of learned skills.  Lessons are 4 days per week, Monday – Thursday, for approximately 10-15 minutes per lesson (approximately 1 hour per week) for an average of 5-6 weeks for infants learning to float and 6-8 weeks for children learning to swim and float.  All lessons are individualized to the unique needs of each child, so the exact number of lessons will vary. Each child progresses differently due to the different stages of development, personality, and coordination.  Speak to your instructor regarding an estimated # of lessons for your child based on current age and skill level. Lesson end times are performance-based, not time-based, meaning the lesson will end on the student’s best performance of the skill we are working on that day and before he or she becomes fatigued.  Some lessons will be longer than others and lessons may be shorter in the beginning as a student is getting used to a new instructor and lesson environment.  

Bringing your child every day will increase the rate of progress and retention of skills. Missing lessons may result in adding weeks to the lesson set. I am aware that your family’s calendar is dynamic, therefore, please let me know as far in advance as possible if you know of lessons your child will be missing. I want to do everything I can to make sure your child’s lesson experience is second to none. Please also keep in mind that lessons are not prorated and you are expected to pay for all scheduled lessons.

Schedule
I recommend arriving at the pool at least 5 minutes before your time slot in order to have your child ready for lessons at his/her scheduled time. Due to a very full lesson schedule, your lesson cannot be guaranteed if you are not on time. If it happens that you are late, I will do my absolute best to fit you in, but again, it cannot be guaranteed. 

Pool Location
In order to serve as many families as possible, I teach exclusively from my private, heated, salt pool at my home.  My address is 1695 Angel Ave, Merritt Island, FL 32952. The water temperature is maintained between 84-88 degrees during lessons.

Lesson Status

Everyone who will be bringing your child to lessons (parents, grandparents, caregivers, etc) should download the “WhatsApp Messenger” messaging app on their smartphone prior to beginning lessons and send me a message containing their name as well as the child’s name and lesson time. I find that this group messaging app is the fastest and most effective way to communicate up-to-date lesson status and last‐minute lesson cancellations or weather postponements.  The use, just download the app and be sure I am listed as a contact in your phone.  My cell is (321) 698-5840. Please send me a test message from the app so I can add you to the correct group for updates.

Adverse Weather
Rain: Unless it is raining very hard or there is lightning, we will swim.  Because of the volatile weather in Florida, I will try to have lessons even if it means waiting a few minutes for a local storm to pass. Keep in mind that it may be raining over you, but not necessarily over the pool area.
Cold: If the weather at the scheduled lesson time is below 60 degrees F, we will not swim. Lesson status is updated on “WhatsApp Messenger” and I will make every attempt to contact you as far in advance as possible.  Please make sure everyone who may be bringing your child to lessons has this app installed and has me in their contacts to stay updated on lesson status.

Restroom
Please have your child use the restroom at your home BEFORE coming to lessons. My home bathroom should be used only in EMERGENCIES. “Going potty at Ms. Ginger’s” quickly becomes a habit or stall tactic and should not be reinforced in any way. Your cooperation is appreciated as I have to stop lessons and get out of the pool to unlock the house and put the dogs up to let visitors in.  Some parents opt to carry a training potty with plastic shopping bags for liners. I wish I had thought of this when I had potty-training toddlers!

Parking
Please park in front of my gate under the big oak tree, enter through the gate and come on in. Please DO NOT PARK IN THE MIDDLE OF MY FRONT YARD or your car may end up in the septic tank.  It is o.k. to park in the grass near the road or the driveway.

Attire
Swim Diapers: In‐water potty accidents do happen, and due to the fact that we cannot continue with any lesson for at least 24 hours if the sanitation of the pool has been compromised, I  require that each child 3 years and younger, or any older child who is not fully toilet trained be dressed in a washable, reusable swim diaper. Please have at least 2 on hand in case one is soiled prior to your child’s lesson. The disposable swim diapers such as Huggies “Little Swimmers” may not be worn alone because they do not have elastic leg or waist openings and allow “accidents” to leak into the pool.  If they are worn as a liner under the reusable diaper, they must be completely tucked in under the elastic so as not to break the elastic seal of the swim diaper. I sell a limited quantity of iPlay brand washable swim diapers on deck for $14.  Feel free to inquire about size availability. Please DO NOT bring your child to lessons with extremely loose stools or diarrhea. If your child is experiencing loose stools or diarrhea, please message me prior to lessons.

Sunscreen
The majority of my pool is covered by shade sails which do a great job of protecting us from the sun’s rays.  However, if you choose to apply sunscreen, please do so at least 1 hour prior to lessons. Please use only the minimum amount necessary, and make sure it is rubbed in well. This will help to ensure that the sunscreen has been absorbed enough to be effective against sunburn, and that your child isn’t too slippery for your Instructor to handle, won’t get rubbed into their eyes and burn and won’t wash off and negatively impact the ph and filtration of the pool. Any sunscreen that has not been absorbed will be asked to be wiped/washed off prior to your child’s lesson.  *Exception: I sell Florida Salt Scrubs brand sunscreen which is coconut-oil based and coral-reef safe and along with being great for sensitive skin and moisturizing, it also doesn’t impact the ph of my pool therefore it can be applied right up to lesson time. 

Towels
Please bring at least 2 large towels each day (and at least 1 one per additional child). The first towel (doubled over) provides a comfortable surface for the child to rest on after they are done with their lessons and also acts as a germ‐buffer on the pool deck and the second to warm and dry the child.  If your child cannot comfortably fit on one large towel when doubled over, bring 2 towels to lie on and 1 additional to dry off with. 

Diet
Please do not give your child anything to eat or drink (except water) at least 1.5 hours prior to lessons, and no dairy/milk products for at least 2+ hours prior to lessons. No one works well on a full stomach, and your child will be working hard. Please do not feed your child any APPLES OR APPLE PRODUCTS in any form for the entire duration of lessons as they tend to cause excess gas and vomiting when combined with swimming. Other foods to avoid are pineapples, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, spinach, honey, or celery. These foods can cause the buildup of gases in the abdomen leading your child to experience distention and discomfort.

Illness
Students who are experiencing fever, diarrhea, vomiting, open skin lesions, extreme congestion, head injury, new rashes or other obvious signs of illness or injury will be asked to stop lessons until the condition can be evaluated by the child’s physician.  Determination will be at the sole discretion of the Instructor. If there is any question or doubt about your child’s health, please private message me on “WhatsApp” or call or text me @ (321) 698‐5840 prior to coming to lessons to avoid a potentially wasted trip.

Extended Absence
Should there be an extended absence from lessons, please contact me so that arrangements can be made to reschedule your child’s time slot and lesson dates. If your child misses lessons for 3 days due to illness and requires medical attention or is seen by a specialist due to a new medical condition, a physician’s note will be required to resume lessons. 

Crying
Most infants and young children take some time to feel comfortable around new people. A small child who is not yet verbal or has not mastered verbal skills, communicates most often by crying. Crying is a normal and expected way of communicating for children at this point in their development.

In a new environment such as swim lessons, we frequently see new students cry more during the first few lessons (and sometimes beyond that) because the child is not yet skilled in the water and is communicating that he or she is not yet comfortable. Your Instructor will spend time talking to you and supporting your child through this learning process. As the lessons progress and your child becomes more skilled with each passing lesson, the emotions and feelings of uncertainty for both you and your child should be replaced by feelings of confidence for hard work and accomplishment.

Your Instructor is receives extensive training in child development and is able to pick up cues and to be acutely aware of your child’s sensitivities to the lesson environment and to develop an individualized lesson plan. The goal is to develop a skilled and confident aquatic problem solver. Once competent in their skills, many children cannot be dragged away from the pool. They are having entirely too much FUN!

How can you help?  Parental attitude is the single most influential factor in regard to crying.  Your little one will be looking to you for reassurance and how he or she should react to lessons.  Take cues from your Instructor for when to cheer. Your Instructor will be focussed on reinforcing specific behaviors during each lesson, so when you hear them say something like “Great job kicking your feet!”, that is the perfect time to chime in and verbally reinforce that behavior as well.  This will also help your child focus more on the skills he or she is working on, rather than crying. Be a great cheerleader and project a positive attitude before, during and after lessons and discuss any concerns with your instructor away from the pool. Use positive phrases such as “You are safe and strong and are going to do (or did do) great!” Try to avoid using the word “cry” or tell telling them not to “cry” or be “scared”, which causes them to focus on the negative. One of my favorite quotes form Becky Bailey (Author of “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” and founder of Conscious Discipline), is: “What you focus on, you get more of!”

Video/Photographs
Videotaping and pictures are allowed on Thursdays, first lesson and final checkout lessons.   This can be distracting to your child and instructor during daily lessons. Thursdays are preferred because we are generally practicing skills that have already been mastered during the week.  I will periodically take underwater photos and videos which may be published on my facebook business page and or website for you to download and share. If you do not wish to have your child’s photo taken and/or published, please request that no photos are taken on picture/video days.

Posting Video/Photographs on social media
I highly encourage you to post and share your lesson pictures and videos.  I just ask that you get my permission prior to posting or tag me in your post for me to review. I am on FB and IG @miswimschool and/or @swimsafenow and my personal FB profile is @gingerblackman. We also encourage using hashtags to help share our message!  Some examples are #swimsafenow #miswimschool #swimfloatswim #infantswim #swimlessons #survivalswimlessons #merrittisland #swimbabies, etc. 

Puddle Jumpers” and Flotation Devices
Children who have become accustomed to using devices like “floaties” or flotation swimsuits, Puddle Jumpers, vests, rings, etc, have become comfortable in a completely different posture in the water than what is required to learn to effectively swim and float. These devices hold the child up vertically in the water, while swimming and floating require a horizontal posture in the water. Thus, it’s not uncommon for children who have had this type of exposure to the water to need more lessons, rather than fewer. While a Coast-Guard approved pfd is required for children to wear while boating, any use of flotation devices while swimming DURING the time your child is in enrolled in lessons will undermine and adversely affect your child’s success in lessons and will inevitably cause him or her to require additional lessons to master skills.  If flotation devices are used AFTER completion of lessons, your child will likely revert to a vertical posture in the water, putting his or her skills at risk and requiring additional lessons to remediate. Please do not allow your child to use these devices and discuss with your instructor appropriate pool play activities that will encourage further development and not cause skill regression. 

Pool Play & At-Home Practice
Watching your child learn how to safely enjoy the water is very exciting. While I know that you are anxious to get in with your child, I would like to ask that keep your child out of the pool at home as much as possible until a skill has been mastered. As skills are mastered, you will be invited to participate in lessons on Thursdays to learn how to correctly practice and reinforce these skills at home.  This will ensure that unwanted behaviors are not accidentally reinforced at home which could jeopardize their progress in lessons and potentially undo skills they have previously mastered and end up requiring additional lessons to remediate. 

Questions
It is very important to me that any concerns that you may have are addressed. I am here to answer any questions you may have. It may be difficult to talk poolside because of the schedule, but I am happy to make myself available for you at a later time. I want you to be comfortable every step of the way. Parents and their children in lessons will be my first priority when returning calls. I am happy to discuss with you any questions or thoughts that you have with regard to your child’s lessons. You can reach me by e‐mail: ginger@swimsafenow.com or by text, phone, or WhatsApp Messenger at (321) 698‐5840.

Thank you again for choosing Swim Safe Now Lessons at Merritt Island Swim School. I look forward to working with you and your family, and I hope that you will be as amazed by our program as I am by my students on a daily basis!