There are many reasons why Ottawa is an awesome place to raise a family. Take their public wading pool system, for example. There are approximately 3 bajillion free outdoor wading pools and splash pads in parks around the city, 6 of which are easy walking distance from our house. That's pretty great. But it doesn't stop there. All of the wading pools are staffed by lifeguards. And that's STILL not all! These lifeguards are not only there to save your child's life, if necessary, but they also run kids' activity programming every day, including crafts, games and free swimming lessons. Yes. I had heard a rumour late last summer about the lessons, but hadn't had it confirmed...until this morning.
E and I showed up at the park just as they were filling up the pool. I asked one of the lifeguards if she would do a little lesson with E and she said Sure! I was expecting a few minutes of kick, kick, splash, splash...maybe a float or two. But she spent about 20 minutes with E, just the two of them, playing the hokey pokey, teaching her to bob in and out of the water by herself, floating on her back and on her stomach, and swimming from one end to the other on her front and on her back using a pool noodle. It was super cool. E started out wearing her floatie (she loves that floatie), but after a few minutes the lifeguard convinced her to ditch it, and that was that. By the end she was going right under to pick up toys off of the bottom of the pool!
At the end I said "So...if we just...show up here...every week...at this time...will you give her more lessons??" You bet!
I realize that this method will not have her doing the 50 metre butterfly by age 4, but it seems to me that they covered everything I would expect to see in a proper swimming class for 3 year olds, and it was a private lesson! Score.
Thanks, Ottawa. You're alright.