Why FOSS Teaches Swimming in Quarters

By Foss Swim School

In 1993, FOSS Swim School was founded with the goal of helping kids learn to swim well for safety, fun, and the benefit of a great life skill. Every aspect of our program and school is purposefully designed to support that mission – including our decision to teach our classes in defined quarters, like other schools, rather than a “continuous enrollment” model with a set monthly fee.

When parents compare us with other options, they sometimes ask why we choose to operate this way. The answer: Because we firmly believe this approach is simply superior in terms of the quality of swimming skills gained, and our experience over the past three decades has only reinforced that belief when we see the confidence and ability of our graduates. Here are some reasons why:

  • Clear progress: By offering many, narrowly focused levels with clear goals, we can ensure kids are picking up the right skills in the right order to learn to swim well. Levels focus on “can’t-miss” skills – on the FOSS Swim Path®, you need to master these skills before moving on, meaning no child moves on too soon for their development as a swimmer.
  • Well-matched classes: Can you imagine a second-grade classroom where a teacher would be expected to teach a different group of kids day in and day out? And sometimes with a mix of first and fifth graders thrown together for good measure? It’s the same in swimming – mixed, open-ended groups may result in teachers holding back strong swimmers or giving too little time to weaker swimmers. Teaching FOSS levels in quarters helps us match your child with other swimmers of similar age and skill.
  • Tangible commitment: Families are busy. Everyone at FOSS understands that. We believe that offering parents a clear commitment to a specific class for a set number of weeks, we encourage regular attendance and progress and give families a natural break between quarters to adjust schedules. Our quarters also coincide with school and other activities so families can balance schedules.
  • Strong relationships: Instructors and students form bonds. Instructors learn the strengths and needs of their students and adapt accordingly to meet the level’s goals. Students form bonds and learn from consistent peers too. It’s part of why term-based learning is the backbone of our education system. By contrast, in an ongoing class, instructors and students move in and out which can compromise continuity and quality connections that are core components to learning.
  • Time for mastery: Learning a skill and making it second nature are two different things. Simply demonstrating an ability isn’t enough to advance a student at FOSS. The quarter system reduces the temptation to advance students too quickly. Instead, the schedule has time for repetition and reinforcement built in, helping promote stronger, more confident swimmers. And if a swimmer needs to repeat a level to gain that master (which is not uncommon), they will have time to really get it right. 

Our commitment to the quarter system isn’t an accident. At FOSS, we’re convinced it’s the best way to teach your child to swim – just as important as the other ways we create a successful learning environment, such as pools purpose-designed for lessons, carefully selected and trained instructors, warm water, and comfortable facilities. 

So, we hope to see you next quarter, where we can continue on the path from laughter and learning to confidence and mastery

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