Valparaiso Aquatic Center » FAQ Little Vikes Swim Academy

FAQ Little Vikes Swim Academy



We have done extensive research and tested several different programs before arriving at our current curriculum.  In the summer of 2012, we changed to using a pre-formatted curriculum designed by Swim Lessons University. This system is fundamentally based on a spiral learning model.  That means that the lessons involve a definite stroke progression for the competitive swimming strokes. The spiral learning model uses repetition and small increments up the progression ladder for each skill by starting with fundamental skills while adding modifications daily.  With the recurrence and progression of skills, the student has made considerable progress before you know it. The curriculum involves a numbering system, much like in the university system. The most rudimentary level starts at 100, and the most advanced is 400 level.  There are sublevels like 101, 102, and 103 along the way.  The emphasis of the whole program is to teach competitive swimming strokes. It is streamlined to teach those strokes and has proven to be a highly effective teaching model.

We have worked hard to keep the tuition of our program as cost-effective as possible. We are currently the only program in the area that offers 15 lessons lasting 40 minutes at $125. That breaks down to just over $8.00 per 40-minute lesson. If you compare these prices to other learn-to-swim programs, you will find Little Vikes hard to beat. As such, we feel that these are already discounted prices and offer few discounts.

We restrict each of the five class times during the day to 30 students with a waiting list for each class time. The number of students per class has decreased from years past to keep groups small and allow for the least intrusive student-to-student and instructor-to-student contact.  

We offer all levels in the swimming progression during every scheduled class time.
On the first two days of lessons, we will be taking time to figure out what level would be best for your student to start with us.  On the first day, we will determine an initial placement for your student. On the second day, we will be checking with a different instructor to decide whether they agree with the initial placement.

We hire an entire staff of swim instructors each summer, and our class sizes are restricted to 25-30 students each hour depending on staff size. One of the staff members will always be the acting lifeguard during each class time. The others will be actively teaching lessons.  In our first two levels (100 and 200), we keep our class sizes no greater than 3-4 students. For the more advanced levels, class sizes could be a little larger. The 300 level classes could have up to 6 students and up to 8 students in the most advanced 400 level classes. Your child's safety is one of our primary concerns, so the group's size and ability level help us ascertain the safest group number for an optimal learning environment.

We accept all students starting at age four and up. We have welcomed students under the age of four, but only when the class numbers are small enough to accommodate.  While we do not anticipate there being availability this year for anyone under four, we will be more than happy to include them on an under four waiting list. This list will be available when registration opens.

Each of the hired instructors teaching lessons is a current or former VHS Varsity team member. All instructors are required to carry a current lifeguarding, CPR, and first aid certification.  We also encourage our instructors to maintain a Water Safety Instructors Certification as well. The instructors are hand-picked from our men's and women's teams each year at VHS.

Swim lessons have been administered at VHS for over 40 years, teaching thousands of students how to swim in that time. In the spring of 2012, Valparaiso Community Schools could not continue to subsidize our swim academy's funding. We decided to work with them to start a new non-profit business called Valparaiso Swimming Inc.  In the winter of 2020, the state-of-the-art Valparaiso Aquatic Center connected to Valparaiso High School was opened.  With the new aquatic center's addition, Valparaiso Swimming Inc officially turned over the little vikes swim academy to be administered by the Valparaiso Aquatic Center staff.  Even though the business has changed hands, there have been very few changes, and the transition has been almost unnoticeable to the public as the same executive staff is in place since 1998.

We do not require parents to stay in the pool area while lessons are going on.  Many of our returning parents will drop off their students and return later. We allow parents to be in the aquatic center as long as they are not a distraction to the learning process.   If parents want to stick around but not be in the aquatic center watching lessons, there are multiple grassy areas and benches outside for parents to enjoy while their swimmer is in classes. 

We plan to allow parents to sit on the pool deck bleachers for the class in the water.  As the next time slot group arrives, we will guide them up to the stands area to wait and get ready for their class time.  We will then rotate the group in the stands down to the pool deck once prepared for those students.  From a learning standpoint, we ask that parents monitor if they are a distraction for their child's learning and progression through the skills. If parents notice that their child is spending more time focusing on them than their instructor, it would be best to step out into the lobby area.  If you would like to view the lessons without being noticed, please ask the executive team to guide you to a less obvious viewing area.

Most importantly, students will need to bring a positive attitude and a smile.  Beyond that, a suit and a towel are required every day.  For girls, I would suggest a one-piece swimsuit, and most boys will wear swim trunks.  If your student has graduated into level 200, goggles may be needed.

Each class period is 40 minutes in length.  In this time, the instructors will spend the first 5 minutes stretching with the kids, talking to the kids about what they will be doing that day, and getting the equipment they need for lessons.  The instructional time of 30 minutes will include the review of skills and teaching of new skills. We follow that up with 5 minutes of free time. During the free time, we encourage the instructors to play games working on the skills they have been working on in class. We have extended free time and fun on Fridays, focusing on recently learned skills.
Yes, both of the swimming locker rooms are available for use during lessons.  If you require a family locker room, two are available located off the main pool deck door entrance on a first-come, first-serve basis.
You can get to the VAC by entering South Viking Drive and continue past the building.  You will enter the building through door 16 on the southwest side of the building, the main Aquatic Center entrance.  Parking will be in the adjacent parking lot.

Little Vikes Swim Academy and Valparaiso community schools take the safety of everyone entering the building and watching or participating in swim lessons very seriously.  While a lot has changed in the last few years, we want to mention that Masks are OPTIONAL in all Valparaiso Community School buildings. We also still have hand sanitizer stations and sanitizing wipes Throughout the Aquatic Center for general public use. 

The Valparaiso Aquatic Center keeps our water temp at a consistent 80 degrees.