Here’s Where Your Kid Can Learn to Swim in and Around Philly

The best local swim lessons for the little one in your life.

Our guide to swimming lessons in Philadelphia, the suburbs, and South Jersey. / Photograph courtesy of Fitness Alive.

Ah, the children’s swim lesson. It’s an adorable rite of passage for babies and toddlers and little ones, and also the perfect all-weather activity: The kids get some play time, exercise, and new skills — while you get some adorable photo ops. Below, a round-up of some of the region’s most popular spots for kids’ swimming lessons.

Kids’ Swimming Lessons in Philadelphia

FitLife Fitness & Aquatics
7140 Germantown Avenue, Mount Airy
This Mount Airy-based fitness center offers swimming lessons for members and their children. (Those visiting with a guest pass can make use of the pool independently, but instructional lessons are excluded.) Opt for single 30-minute sessions or a package of four 30-minute sessions. No matter what you choose, all lessons are limited to three swimmers for optimal personal attention.

Fitness Alive
1425 Arch Street, B level, Center City and 714 Reed Street, East Passyunk
All year round, Fitness Alive runs Babies + Toddlers Bubbles classes, which sees parents and guardians in the pool with their little ones (ages five months to three years) — under the direction of Fitness Alive coaches. For kids older than three, there’s a variety of options, including small-group skills lessons, a pre-competitive program, and private and semi-private lessons. This summer, Fitness Alive is running multi-day camps at their Center City and East Passyunk locations, as well as popping up at Creekside Swim Club in Wallingford for an outdoor swim intensive for kids from July 5th through August 11th.

 

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Salvation Army Kroc Center
4200 Wissahickon Avenue, North Philly
This indoor community center offers weekly kids’ swimming lessons. Generally, class size is between four and six kids, and classes range from the parent/baby classes (six months to three years) to preschool beginner classes (three to five years) to school-age beginners and intermediate (five to nine years), plus lessons for adults over 18. The most recent lesson cycle just ended and the next registration period is still TBA, so keep an eye out here.

Swim America of Greater Philadelphia
William Penn Charter School, 3000 West School House Lane, East Falls
This program held at Penn Charter’s indoor pool teaches small groups of kids (no more than six students) the basics of smart swimming techniques. Throughout the year, eight-week sessions take place on Sunday afternoons (six weeks in the summer months) and are about 30 minutes long. Lessons are available for children as young as two.

University City Swim Club
300 Hanson Street, University City
University City Swim Club offers members swimming lessons for their children ages three and up. They’ve got four sessions throughout the summer, each of which features three 30-minute lessons per week for two weeks and works to develop skills based on age and ability. Because the club’s pools are outdoors, lessons are weather-dependent and are made up on Fridays in case of rain.

We Can Swim!
Sheerr Pool at the University of Pennsylvania, 3701 Walnut Street, University City
Held at the Sheerr Pool on Penn’s campus, We Can Swim! runs free lessons for kindergarteners through sixth graders living in and around West Philly. In the past, lessons have been held on Saturday mornings and offered in 45-minute increments. Though they have yet to announce dates for their next season, check here frequently so you can register when future info is posted.

 

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Kids’ Swimming Lessons in the ‘Burbs

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools
307 Horsham Road, Horsham
Aqua-Tots in Horsham offers year-round indoor swim lessons for children ages four months to 12 years. They offer eight different lesson levels, including 30-minute Parent & Tot classes, plus beginner, intermediate, and advanced sessions. (There are even “adult” lessons for swimmers over 13 years old.)

Friends’ Central Aquatics
1101 City Avenue, Wynnewood
This Wynnewood-based swim school has one final summer session available, running from June 25th through July 30th. After that, they’ll likely pick up lessons after Labor Day. Here, expect five different student groups based on skill level and other pre-requisites, with 30-minute classes held on Saturday mornings.

 

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Hatfield Aquatic Center
2500 Chestnut Street, Hatfield
Swim lessons are offered in the summer at this aquatic center’s outdoor pool. Your kid can opt for a one-week, multi-week, or the complete four-week offering — lessons are held Monday through Friday in the morning, and are broken up into three skill-level categories: beginner (intro to water skills), intermediate (fundamental skills), and advanced (stroke development).

Kaiserman JCC
45 Haverford Road, Wynnewood
Kaiserman JCC offers a variety of swim lessons, including sessions for six- to 18-month-olds, parent-and-baby guided pool time, and classes for preschoolers ages three to five. For more personalized attention, you can schedule private and semi-private (no more than two kids) lessons for swimmers of all ages.

La Maison Health & Fitness
215 Sugartown Road, Wayne
With indoor and outdoor pools, swim lessons run all year at this Main Line fitness club. There are lessons for all ages and swim levels and each new family gets a free “swim assessment” to help instructors determine which method is the best fit. The 30-minute lessons can be booked by members and non-members on either a recurring or a la carte schedule.

Linvilla Orchards Swim Clubs
137 West Knowlton Road, Media
Linvilla Orchards — the beloved spot for hayrides and pumpkin and apple picking — doesn’t sleep on the summer fun. They run swimming lessons at their on-site swim clubs, Hidden Hollow and Knowlton, for members only. These are good for kids who are at least three years old, and 30-minute classes are held eight times over a two-week period. Both pools are outdoors, so make-up lessons are sometimes necessary if it rains.

 

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Lower Merion Parks and Recreation
Belmont Hills Pool, 122 Mary Watersford Road, Bala Cynwyd and Ardmore Avenue Community Center, 122 Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore
Residents of Lower Merion Township or pool members can enjoy swim lessons at Belmont Hills Pool and Ardmore Avenue Community Center. There are four sessions held at both outdoor pools during the summer months, with lessons geared toward swimmers of all levels and ages — from infant Aqua Tot to intermediate students looking to improve their stroke and endurance.

Ursinus College Aquatics
Elliott Pool at Ursinus College, 601 East Main Street, Collegeville
From early March to late July, the aquatic staff at Ursinus College runs youth swimming lessons. Sessions run about 50 minutes in both the morning and evening on Mondays through Thursdays, are grouped based on skill level, and are open to children ages four through 14.

Kids’ Swimming Lessons in South Jersey

Bear Paddle Swim School
515 Route 73 South, Unit 170B, Marlton and 5901 Route 42 Unit 3, Turnersville
Bear Paddle only has two locations in the area — and they’re both across the bridge in South Jersey. At either, expect indoor lessons all year long focused on building confident swimmers through small class sizes and interactive storytelling that’ll keep your little one engaged during every 30-minute session.

 

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Five Star Swim School
5 Esterbrook Lane, Cherry Hill
The Cherry Hill location of Five Star Swim School features two indoor heated pools, so there’s enough space for your little one to splash around, blow bubbles, or work on a backstroke. They have lessons for every kind of swimmer — the six-month-old Seahorse, the three-year-old Guppie, the seven-year-old Dolphin, the 10-year-old Shark, or the 15-year-old Sea Lion — every day except Friday.

Goldfish Swim School
2036 Briggs Road, Mount Laurel
Stepping into Goldfish will make your tot giddy before they even dip a toe in the pool. Classes — which range from parent/infant classes, to toddler and kids (up to 12 years) sessions — are all 30 minutes in length and limited to just a few kids, so everyone gets the attention they need. Plus, they’re year-round, so you can come in when it’s best for you and your child.

Katz JCC
1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill
The year-round swim program at Katz JCC teaches swimmers as young as eight weeks how to be safe and comfortable in and around the water. Every class takes place in four-week periods and never sees more than three students, so personalized attention is guaranteed.

Making Waves Swim School
2020 Briggs Road and 4115 Church Road, Mount Laurel
This swim school operates out of two hotel pools in Mount Laurel and runs private lessons only for kids ages two and up. The program owners feel that the one-on-one attention is critical when it comes to swimming success. The classes are mostly 30 minutes in length and are usually for one or two kids. Bonus: They offer sibling lessons.

 

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SJAC Swim School
333 Preston Avenue, Voorhees, New Jersey
The Voorhees-based swim school runs small-group and private lessons all year long at their indoor facility. Typically, group lessons run seven to eight weeks, and are broken down into eight skill-level categories good for children as young as six months. In the summer, SJAC hosts an accelerated program where students can take eight lessons over a two-week period.

Kids’ Swimming Lessons with 3+ Locations

British Swim School of Greater Philadelphia
With outposts in Richboro, Bensalem, and Northeast Philly, the British Swim School centers on teaching kids as young as three months lifesaving survival skills, like back-floating and submersion, at indoor pools. There are 10 skill-level tiers — from the infant Tadpole group to competition-ready Barracudas — as well as water acclimation and survival classes for swimmers with special needs.

Greater Philadelphia YMCA
Many of the area’s YMCAs offer group lessons for babies, toddlers, and school-age kiddos that are typically 30 minutes long. To take swim lessons, you have to be at least a program member. Call your local Y for more details.

Infant Swimming Resource
These self-rescue survival swim classes teach tiny ones skills designed to save their lives should they find themselves in a dangerous situation. ISR, which was founded in 1966, is a nationally run program with teachers in the ‘burbs and South Jersey. The program involves a decent level of commitment, as lessons are taught one-on-one in 10-minute increments for five days a week, for six weeks. Find a certified instructor near you here.

Kids First Swim School
Kids First has locations all across the region, including Jenkintown, Broomall, Cherry Hill, Limerick, Aston, East Norriton, Exton, and York. The program, which is done in indoor heated pools, starts with kicking first before moving on to other movements. There are parent-and-infant lessons, small-group sessions for kids ages three to 12, private and semi-private instruction, and classes specifically designed for students who are home-schooled.

 

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Swim Philly
Founder Kelcey Johnson coaches students of all ages and skill levels in the water. To bring out the swimmer in Philly-area residents, Johnson offers one-hour lessons for one, two, or four people. She trains out of pools in Flourtown, Fairmount, and Haverford, but is also available to travel up to 25 miles — great for if you have your own pool.

This guide contains additional reporting by Christine Speer Lejeune.