In almost twelve years of parenting and after attending countless swim lessons, today was the first time I took one of my children to a dedicated swim school.
And now I understand what the buzz is all about! What a great experience. Bear Paddle Swim School is not only brand-spanking new, with a beautifully clean and bright facility, it also has a friendly staff and patient, enthusiastic teachers to help kids get comfortable in the water and learn to swim…quickly.
A Brand New Swim School in McHenry County
Conveniently located in Lake in the Hills, just off of Randall Road, Bear Paddle is quick to find. It is also easily accessible from several nearby communities that can take advantage of this swimming facility. Several class options are available to accommodate even the busiest schedule. (I can personally vouch for that!)
Parking is close and plentiful in front of the facility, and a warm and colorful space awaits you upon arrival. Bright blue and orange paint and festive tropical decorations give a warm first impression, and my two-year-old was especially excited to see all of the Bear paintings adorning the walls.
We were immediately greeted with a smile, quickly checked in, and then given a tour of the premise. A clean and spacious changing room is available with several private stalls and well as many lockers for your convenience. Once changed, you enter the pool facility. Every participant is require to take a quick rinse in the “kiddie car wash” before getting in the pool. My little guy was super excited to check this out, and laughed as we were hosed down by 90°F water.
Once it was time to jump into the water, my brave little fishy turned into a scared rabbit and wanted nothing to do with swimming lessons. He was very timid, and our instructor, Kaelean, was very patient. The warm 90°F saltwater pool and pool sanitation system gave us a comfortable and clean swimming environment. We still participated in the class to the best of our ability, which included songs, games, props, and creative methods of getting the children relaxed in the water. Despite our rocky start, by the end of the 30-minute class, my son was laughing and having a great time with his instructor. The instructor’s enthusiasm and silly antics definitely broke the ice and helped him get over his initial fears. We experienced a fun and effective lesson, with lots of praise and high-fives to show my son how much he was accomplishing.
Each swim lesson includes the elements of safety, endurance, creativity and swimming without goggles, and also incorporates a “Challenge of the Week” to increase awareness of these four elements. Children progress at an individual pace, and growth is recognized with skill patches. Classes are structured by age and ability to accommodate varying abilities within each age group. Student to swim teacher ratios are 3:1, 4:1, or 5:1, depending on age and class size.
After class, we rinsed in one of the several available shower stalls in the changing area. We were there on a Monday morning, so there were no crowds to fight whatsoever, but even in a busier time, I can’t imagine much of a wait with all of the shower stalls and changing rooms available. For families interested in watching their little swimmers, there is seating available on the pool deck. There is also an air-conditioned viewing area with movies playing all day and free Wi-Fi. A cute “Patch Rewards Corner” is located in the facility to capture photos of the memorable moments when skill patches are earned!
One thing to note is that towels are available for rent at an additional cost; it is recommended that you bring your own from home. However, in the event that you are rushing out of the house and possibly forget that detail, (who, me?) towels are available for a $1 rental fee.
I also should mention that our first lesson was within two weeks of the Grand Opening of the facility, and things ran very smoothly. Even this early on, the school was already a well-oiled machine.
We had a great first impression and lesson at Bear Paddle Swim School and I highly recommend the facility at this point in our experience. We are really looking forward to seeing how our progress develops and are hoping to have a more confident and safe swimmer by the time summer (finally!) rolls around.
Disclosure: Bear Paddle Swim School is a paid advertising sponsor. The writer received free swim lessons to facilitate her review and as part of her compensation.