The team behind the new Goldfish Swim School, located at 1130 Eighth Line Rd, invited me in for a tour recently. My two girls are now taking swimming lessons at their facility and are absolutely loving the experience.
Each week my toddler asks when she's, "Going swimming with Jenna", - it makes my husband and I thrilled to see she's taken to swimming and learning water safety so quickly. Our oldest is a water baby through and through and she's learning so much in her lessons with Sebastian.
Below I connected with Dave McKay, owner of Goldfish Swim School to learn more about their programming and what they can offer families in the Oakville area.
What do you love the most about the Oakville community? Small town feel, with people that share a genuine compassion for each other.
How is Goldfish Swim School different than other swim programs offered in the community?
We specialize in teaching children water safety and stroke technique in a fun, supportive environment. We don’t teach adult swimming, aqua-fit or any other programs – everything we do focuses on ensuring children have fun while learning and parents have a hassle free experience.
Our unique perpetual (or membership) lesson model means that families have maximum flexibility to fit their busy schedules. Families can change their lesson time with just a phone call. If they miss a class, they can easily book a make up with a simple phone call or online. This model also means that we advance children to the next level when the child is ready – we aren’t restricted by session start or end dates like other programs.
We also have a proprietary curriculum that teaches children proper stroke technique faster then other programs. Our instructors receive an additional 20+ hours of training beyond other typical programs to ensure they are prepared to deliver a great lesson. Each week there are over 70,000 children learning how to swim using the Goldfish curriculum. The approach is proven successful.
At the end of each class, parents are invited on deck to receive personalized feedback on their child’s progress. We believe feedback and communication with families is critical and this provides a forum each week to ask questions. We also perform regular student process reports to provide more details to the parents on their child’s progression.
We also provide individual change huts to make it easy for families to get ready for their lessons. There is also a large viewing area that allows parents to see every moment of their child’s lesson in anywhere in the pool. The water and air temperature are 90 degrees to ensure a “shiver-free” lesson experience for the child.
What types of classes to you offer and what is the child: instructor ratio?
We offer Parent & Tot (starting at 4 months), group swim lessons, private & semi-private and Swim Force for children in the final stage of our program. Our group classes are maximum 4:1 student ratio and our Parent & Tot are 6:1
I understand you offer birthday party packages, what’s included?
Our birthdays are amazing! One of the best parts is that families get the exclusive use of our facility for their party. Their party is the only family in the pool and building. Our parties include all the paper products, cupcakes & drinks for all the birthday attendees, a lifeguard and a party coordinator.
What can parents and their children expect at the first lesson?
On the first day, our team greets the new family and tours them through the facility. We highlight the amenities and explain our program. Children are invited to their lanes by the deck call from one of the Deck Team. This ensures our new members feel comfortable and prevents confusion during transitions. The instructors welcome the new student and delivers a great lesson. Lessons end with families being invited to the deck to receive feedback on their child’s progression. And each week we provide a small reward item to all students including a bath toy, ribbon, colouring sheet or stickers & tattoos.
Overall, families can expect to be amazed by our bright, tropical environment, impressed with the quality of the swim instruction and leave with a smile on their face! They will see that Goldfish Swim School makes learning to swim fun for children and enjoyable for parents.
Do you offer recreational or family swim times?
Yes, we have regular Family Swim times from 12 – 1pm each weekday and Friday’s from 7 to 8pm. Our weekday swims are free to members. We also have other special occasion family swims during holidays and PD days.
Can you tell me about your Jump Start clinics?
Jump Start Clinics are a great way to advance swimmers learning experience more quickly. These are offered during holiday periods when children are out of school. Children enrolled in this program come 4 or 5 days in a row (depending on the holiday) at the same time each day. This consistent learning experience is great for introducing children new to swimming or stroke technique refinement for more advanced swimmers.
Is the Goldfish Swim team involved in the community outside of the facility?
YES! I believe it is important to be active in our community. In our short time in operation we have already supported many community groups including Oakville Minor Soccer, Oakville Parent Child Centre, Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre and Oakville Rangers Minor Hockey.
What is your background, why did you want to open a swimming school?
My professional background is in Marketing. I spent 18+ years with Tim Hortons corporate office advancing through progressive roles. As a dad of 2 kids, I have been through all the public and private swim programs in the area. Based on that experience, I knew there had to be something better. An ex-colleague from Tim Hortons opened a Goldfish in Ohio and I was very impressed with the concept. We have partnered to bring this great brand to Oakville - the first location in Canada!
Tell me more about your facility, what are some of the amenities offered?
Our facility is bright & welcoming, with a fun, tropical design. Everything is designed with children & families in mind including:
Individual change huts Large hair drying station Swimsuit dryers Bumbos available babies Baby changing stations in each washroom and 2 additional outside Large, family friendly shower area Benches built into pool to allow children to sit in water while receiving lesson Large viewing area with free WiFi Retails area to purchase swim wear & goggles Snack Shack for coffee, tea, cold drinks and snacks Stroller friendly entrance & facility Easily accessible parking with plenty of available spaces Convenient location, 2 min from QEW & Trafalgar