Parent Information

You're ready for you or your little ones to learn to swim, but how can you be sure the person that will teach them knows what they're doing? That's where Swim Schools International steps in and shows the way: using standards-based training systems to train and certify Swim Teachers.

Swim Schools International (or SSI) bases their training program for swim teachers on a set of Training Standards, which begin with ethical standards, and move toward specifics of teaching. Each class level has standards for how it should be taught, each Swim Teacher Certification has standards for how it should be taught, and Swim Centers have standards that maintain quality from one Swim Center to another. Simply put, using standards means peace of mind for you. See the complete list of Swim Schools International Training and Dealer Standards here.

Teacher Certifications
SSI has years of experience developing and implementing certifications, with over 40 years in the realm of Scuba Diver certifications. SSI ported over the strong underpinnings of that certification process and applied it to swim teaching to create the most prepared and capable swim teachers in the world. Teachers undergo a home study program, classroom training and pool training to learn the specific skills properly. In order to focus their training on the correct group of students, each certification level requires hands-on apprenticeship time under another certified SSI Swim Teacher. SAFETY and CONSISTENCY for your swimmers are the names of the game here. Using this apprenticeship requirement means that every certified Swim Schools International Swim Teacher has experience with another before beginning to teach their own students on their own.

Lesson Plans
The Swim Schools International standardized lesson plan, known as the Gold Script, allows individual Swim Centers to choose between semesters, sessions, or open enrollment without impact to the progression of the swimmer. Classes are tailored to the individual swimmer based on ability, not on a timeframe for completion. If your swimmer is ready to move up to the next level, the lesson plan flexibility allows for that to occur on an individualized basis, instead of waiting for the entire class to reach the final goals for the level.

Level 1 classes are set to a maximum 4:1 student:teacher ratio, so swimmers get individualized attention while learning skills. Typically classes are scheduled to be held once a week, for 30 minutes per lesson. Swim Centers are free to set their own scheduling, however, so your school may offer a different plan. Contact an SSI Swim Center near you to find out more about how they schedule their classes and what openings they have available for you.

Baby & Me classes are often 45 minutes in length, allowing extra time for entry & exit from the water, as well as bonding time for parents and children in the water.

Level 2 classes are primarily 45 minutes in length and are a larger swimmer:teacher ratio. Junior Olympian classes are often 1 hour in length to allow for the longer distances and full workout schedules for the swimmers, allowing for proper warm-up and cool-down periods for exercise to minimize impact on the body.

Enrollment Options
Swim Schools International does not constrain the scheduling methods of classes for Swim Centers, so your center may use one of the options below, or do something entirely different. Some Swim Centers even offer a range of enrollment options, with a mix of open enrollment throughout the year, while offering additional specific summer programs. No matter the scheduling format used by the school, the lesson plans allow for continuation and advancement of the swimmer based on his or her ability, not on the schedule. Some of the options for enrollment are Open Enrollment, Sessions, Semesters, or Seasons, which are explained below. Contact your SSI Swim Center near you to find out more about their enrollment options.

  • Open Enrollment: A popular option for enrollment in many of the SSI Swim Centers is open enrollment, allowing for a "Start Today" approach to starting lessons. With open enrollment, a swimmer just continues on from level to level, progressing through the lesson plans at their own pace, without concern for an end date to a particular session, season or semester.
  • Sessions: Formatting for classes is at the discretion of the Swim Center. Many of our schools offer a "Session" format, offering classes over a set period of time with a start and end date. These sessions may be based on a specific number of weeks, or months, or based on the school calendar in their location.
  • Semesters: Semesters are often based on the local school calendar, and allow for school districts to be able to offer the Swim Schools International teaching programs in their school districts.
  • Seasons: Since not all Swim Centers have an indoor pool at their disposal, some schools will opt to use a seasonal approach to lessons. Some schools may offer Spring sessions (if weather permits), Summer sessions, and Fall sessions (again, if weather permits).

What would education be without graduation? Swim Schools International Swim Centers have the option of giving out Advancement Medallions upon completion of each level. Just like belts for Karate or patches from boy and girl scouts, these medallions are a durable, waterproof way for your swimmer to show their level of completion.