Living in an area that has so much to offer like Chicagoland, it can be difficult to narrow down what types of activities your family is willing to invest their money and time into. I mean, you and your kiddos could be going nonstop from sunrise to sunset, but you will also probably need an IV of coffee and a rather large bank account to get you through the day. So when my family invests in a class, it has to be a good—no, great—one. That’s why I’m so glad that we came across Big Blue Swim School. For the past two years we have loved seeing our boys grow into confident and happy swimmers, all thanks to the dedicated staff and the top notch programming that truly sets Big Blue apart. Curious as to what is behind the Big Blue Difference? Then read on!
The Caring Environment
Before we found Big Blue, we spent much time and money doing park district swim classes. There were a lot of tears, and not just from my boys. They hated swim classes and cried the entire time even though they had always loved splashing around in any type of water, and I was so incredibly stressed because I felt helpless. When I asked the teacher what I could do to fix the situation, I typically just got blank stares or was told “they will grow out of it.” Not the responses I was hoping to hear. As a family we decided to take a break from swim classes and once winter was over, we went on a hunt for a much more positive and encouraging swim environment.
Everything changed once we had our first lesson at Big Blue. Not only was the water and air temperature so much warmer, but the teachers were so much more compassionate as well. Since we had taken such a long break from swim lessons, my boys definitely did NOT want to get in the water, but their teachers were prepared with fun games and other activities to involve them in what the rest of the class was doing. It took about two classes for my boys to get comfortable in the water without mom and dad and they haven’t looked back since…except to give us a thumbs up, of course!
The Personalized Instruction
We have tried a few other swim schools where our family was just one of hundreds of other Chicagoland families, and no one knew or particularly cared what was going on with us. The exact opposite happens at Big Blue. During our weekly classes, we have a quick chat with the manager who is walking around to observe what is going on in the pool and interact with the families waiting in the pool gallery. Sometimes our chats are focused on how our kids are doing with lessons, but sometimes they are just brief updates on what is going on with us (they always have great tips on how to get rid of swimmer’s ear) so they know how to best help them succeed.
In addition to the attentive managers, we have been consistently impressed with the high quality and energetic teachers who can handle just about every situation (student who doesn’t speak English, child who doesn’t want to get in the water, etc.) thrown at them. My boys have built strong bonds with their teachers which undoubtedly helps them to try new skills and have more confidence every time they are in the water, whether at the local pool or at swim lessons. And we especially love that we can request certain instructors so that my boys can still have their favorite teachers even when they graduate swim levels.
The Innovative Program
Small classes that allow for personalized instruction, warm water, and energetic instructors are some of the reasons why we love Big Blue. But what really sets their innovative program apart is how teachers use scientific approaches to learning in order to break down swimming skills into small steps so that students know exactly what to do. And parents can track these skills online so the learning that is taking place at Big Blue can be expanded into the learning that takes place at home. My boys especially love all of the fun and unique pool toys that their teachers use to introduce skills—I definitely get a little jealous sometimes watching all of the fun that they are having!
The Focus on Family
If I had to describe our experience with Big Blue over the past two years in one word, it would be “effortless.” And I’m not just saying that because my boys are doing all the swimming and I am staying dry on the side lines. It simply describes how accommodating Big Blue is around our family’s busy schedule. If we have to miss lessons because of a trip or other family focused event, we are able to easily schedule a free make up lesson either in person, over the phone, or on a computer. Another one of our priorities is scheduling both of our boys’ swim lessons at the same time, and our need is always met, even when changing swim levels. It is this family first focus that sets Big Blue apart and makes us thrilled to be part of the Big Blue family.
The Philanthropic Community
In an effort to provide more Chicagoland kids with access to swim lessons, Big Blue Swim School has recently partnered up with the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs in hopes of making a difference and ending childhood drowning. Since this initiative has started, Big Blue and its partners have donated over 7,300 swim lessons for at risk youth in the Chicagoland area. You too can make a difference by making a donation and ensuring that not only your children, but also other children in your community, can be safe and successful swimmers. This is just yet another way that Big Blue stands out among the rest of the swim schools in the Chicagoland area.
Now that you’ve read about the Big Blue Difference, experience it for yourself! Sign up for a free trial class today and get ready for some fun! Stay tuned for updates about Big Blue’s brand new Niles location that is scheduled to open this Fall. You can also pre-register for classes that will start this November.
This post is sponsored by Big Blue Swim School. All opinions are my own.