When are the lessons?

Lessons take place once a week, typically on weekends. Lessons are offered in two sessions (Fall and Winter). Please visit our Schedule page for more information.
How are the lessons structured?
At the beginning of each season, we partner children up with an instructor according to their particular needs. The instructor assesses the swimming level of the child at the first lesson and identifies skills they will work towards during the season. Each child works with their own, private instructor for the entirety of the season.
 How many lessons are offered each season?
Typically 8 lessons.
 My child is afraid of the water/has never done swimming lessons before, is this a problem?
This is not a problem! We accept children regardless of their swimming skill level.
 How are SWAM private lessons this affordable?
Our mission is to provide accessible and affordable water safety education to children with special needs. In order to make water safety instruction more financially accessible, we set our registration fees low enough that cost should not represent a significant barrier to entry. We are able to charge fees this low because our organization is completely volunteer-run and coordinated. We lower our costs by using innovative techniques to de-localize administrative tasks, avoiding the need for dedicated offices, staff or communications equipment. In addition to minimizing operating expenses, we also actively fundraise around campus and solicit donations from the public and private sectors.
 Where/when do I pay registration fees?
Registration fees must be submitted on our Parent Orientation Day.

What is Parent Orientation and Registration Day?
Parent Orientation and Registration day is mandatory and occurs the week before the first lesson. Following successful registration an email will be sent out confirming your child’s lesson time, as well as details regarding parent orientation day. 
 Who are the instructors?
Instructors are all volunteer McMaster University students who have been put through a three-step screening and training process.
 Is there a lifeguard on duty?
A fully qualified, paid lifeguard, employed directly from the pool is always on duty during lessons.
 My child is feeling sick and cannot come to lessons, should I let you know?
Yes! It is very important that parents alert us in a timely manner if their child is not coming to lessons or if their child will be arriving late. This allows us to give due notification to their instructor. We need the collaboration of all parents involved to help us retain all of our wonderful volunteers.
 Do you offer lessons during the summer?
At this time, we are unable to offer lessons during the summer. Because all of our instructors are University students, most are away or unavailable during the summer months.
 What should my child bring with them to lessons?
Your child should arrive with their bathing suit and a towel, nothing else is necessary. Optional items include a bathing cap, nose plug and goggles.
 Do parents get in the water with the children?
No, each child is paired up with an instructor, so there is no need for the parents to enter the water. There is, however, an observation area located close to the poolside where parents can sit and watch lessons.
 When are lessons held?
Lessons are held every Saturday during our scheduled seasons from 11:00 -1:00 PM.
 Do you offer other times?
Unfortunately not, one of the ways in which we are able to reduce our costs is by running many private lessons simultaneously.
 Who is eligible? Does my child require a diagnosis to participate in SWAM?
Our clientele includes children with Down's Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Global Developmental Delay, Epilepsy, Attention Deficit Disorder, Blind/Low-Vision, Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing, as well as many other conditions. No official diagnosis is required.
 I cannot afford to pay the registration fee all at once, can my child still participate?
Please contact us and we can work out a flexible payment plan.
 How many children are in the pool at once?
Depending on enrollment, there may be up to 24 children in the pool, each with their own instructor.
 Can I make a donation?
Yes! Please make donations payable to SWAM Canada and we will issue a non-tax deductible receipt. At the moment we are only able to accept donations in person, although we are hard at work on an online donation system.
 How do I register?
Please visit our registration page.
 Can I register in person?
Unfortunately not.
 Do you accept VISA, Interact?
Because of the high processing fees associated with other payment methods, we are only able to accept payment by cash or cheque at this time.
 Can I pay online?
Unfortunately not at this time.
 Is parking available at the pool?
Yes, there is public parking available on Jackson Street, as well as on adjacent streets.  Roadside parking is free on the weekends.
 Do you have a list of instructors looking for employment as babysitters/private instructors over the summer?
Yes! Please send us an e-mail with a description of what you are looking for along with the subject line "Summer List"