Kids First Swim School to host open house
— While its name may be “Kids First Swim School” Zoe Milburn, manager of the business on Pulaski Highway, said everyone needs to know how to swim.
Milburn said that’s why the school is hosting an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 24. She wants people to see that “Kids First” is for everyone.
“We have an adult class on
Mondays and Fridays,” Milburn said. “We’re developing a teen class.”
The open house will include free swimming plus games, refreshments and activities.
But the focus of the 8-yearold school in the Alexandria Village Center — one of more than 30 locations from New York to South Carolina — is to teach children, even those who have barely mastered walking.
“We’re very Milburn said. hands-on,”
The curriculum is the same no matter which Kids First location is chosen. The first goal is to get kids comfortable with being in the water, though it’s hard to imagine how anyone could not be comfortable in an indoor pool heated year round.
“The 90-degree water is very, very calming,” she said.
The half-hour classes have no more than five children. For the youngest, it’s a “Mommy and Me” or “Daddy and Me” class with the parents accompanying their child. Milburn leads songs such as “The Wheels on the Bus” incorporated with movements that create splashing and giggles. The kids are floated on their backs, encouraged to blow bubbles and to jump off the side to waiting arms. During the lesson, Milburn takes turns interacting with each child. Mom or Dad is nearby, but it’s an important part of the next step.
At the next level of training, parents stay in another room. Only the instructor is in the pool with the kids.
“We have a one-way window,” she said. “The parents can watch but with no interference.”
Jackie Mayer recently brought her children, Kathryn, 5, and Frankie, 3, to the school.
“She’s been coming since she was 9 months old,” Mayer said.
Frankie started around the same age. Both children bobbed around the pool fearlessly.
The school has added a competitive element with swimmers competing against other Kids First schools. She has two youngsters with serious talent, Mayer said.
However, Milburn said they don’t lose sight of their primary goal, which is to effectively make kids safer around water.
“We hear about that kid ... the parents will say, ‘My kid fell in and he did it!,’” she said. “We want them to (learn to swim) the right way and it’s gratifying when they get it.”
Patricia Kumar said that’s exactly why she had Natalie, 2, in the toddler class.
“I look at this class as a lifesaving skill,” the Bear, Del. woman said. “Everyone should do this.”
Proving it’s never too late to learn, Milburn said a 52-year-old who needed to swim for a job in law enforcement, and an 80-yearold competitive runner who wanted to do a marathon also learned to swim at the Elkton school.
“It is Kids First Swim School, but we want everyone to learn to swim,” Milburn said.
Kids First Swim School also opens to the public for free swimming on weekends. The cost is $5 per person or $15 for a family. The pool can also be reserved for private parties and home schoolers.
“We’re all Red Cross-trained lifeguards,” Milburn said.
For more information on the open house, classes or open swim times, call Kids First Swim School at 410620-1012.
Zoe Milburn, left, tries to encourage Kennadi Sweatt to blow bubbles in the water during the “Mommy and Me” class at Kids First Swim School in Elkton.
Ratisha Sweatt assures her daughter, Kennadi, during the back-floating lesson portion of the Mommy and Me class at Kids First Swim School in Elkton Thursday.