Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about FOSS? You might find the answer here! Select a category to find the most common questions and answers. Don’t see your question? Don’t hesitate to use our chat feature.

Have a question about FOSS? You might find the answer here! Select a category to find the most common questions and answers. Don’t see your question? Don’t hesitate to use our chat feature.

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Enrollment and Accounts

In our view, the earlier the better once a child reaches 6 months! Here at FOSS our Backfloat Baby® program is designed for little swimmers aged 6 months to under 3 years, focusing on water acclimation, fun, and a few simple skills.We have beginner levels for all ages. No one is ever too old to learn to swim and become more comfortable in the water, but like many skills, it’s easier to learn the younger the student is at the start – it starts to get more challenging to learn when you initiate lessons between 6 and 11. Older students, and even adults, can absolutely learn to swim, but may need to overcome ingrained habits and feelings about water and train muscles not used to swim skills.

When you add a student to your Family Account, you’ll be asked to indicate their current ability level from a list. Our levels are arranged by skill and by age, so students are always with a group of peers who have roughly comparable abilities and maturity. We believe that is the best way to learn . The best way to ensure your student is in the perfect level for them is through a free preview lesson, at which an teacher can work with your child and determine their skill and comfort level. Schedule a preview lesson by logging into your FOSS Family account.

Log into or create your Family Account to submit an enrollment request. In your account you will be able to add swimmers and search available classes by location, level, day, and time. Select your desired classes and enter your payment information. You can also update family information, view your enrollment history and more. Note that we swim in quarters, and you can see our annual schedule here.

You must have a family account before you can see exact availability of levels and times. The information we gain about your swimmer (age and suggested level) help us identify if there are spaces available in currently scheduled classes.

Yes! We allow late enrollments for the first few lessons of each quarter . If you enroll after the session begins, your tuition will be prorated.

Enrollment opens four times a year for our quarterly once-a week classes, generally three to six weeks before the classes begin. We operate on a quarterly schedule, with winter, spring, summer and fall sessions. You can see our annual schedule here.

We charge a one-time fee the first time any member of a family enrolls in a class (it’s free to set up a family account to see availability). This fee covers one-time administrative expenses like setting up billing, creating profiles in our system. This fee is not refundable, including if you cancel your enrollment before the start of a quarter or prior to your Swim Path graduation. When your family returns to FOSS, you will not be charged this fee a second time.

Status pending means we have received your request for enrollment.  Our team reviews each enrollment to ensure the right level has been assigned for the student and your class choice is still available. Once confirmed, we process your enrollment and payment. After the payment has been processed , you will receive an email confirming your class day and time. This process may take up to 72 hours from when your enrollment  request was submitted.

If the class you requested  in has filled or there are not enough swimmers for the class, our team will call and discuss other options with you.

If the “find my account” and “forgot password” options don’t work, call your local Foss Swim School a they should be able to find your account and assist you.

In your Family Account, select Family Information in the top navigation, then select Edit next to the parent/guardian you want to update.

To add or edit swimmers, go to Students – the Add button is at the bottom of the page.

Billing, Refunds, Guarantee and Scheduling Policies

Pricing varies by location, whether you are taking private, semi-private or group classes, and by level. But we are confident you will receive excellent value no matter what options you choose. To see the pricing for your location, find your local Foss Swim School and then scroll down to see the price for core Learn to Swim group classes and camps. Log in or create a Family Account to see detailed pricing for your swimmers.

No. Foss Swim School does not operate on a continuous model – families enroll and pay quarter by quarter, so you won’t be billed a monthly fee whether you attend or not, as some programs do. You do have the option to pay your quarterly fee in equal installments if that is more convenient.

An installment payment option is available and, if chosen, the first charge will occur when swimmers are enrolled in a class that works for the family and additional charges will be processed according to the terms of the plan (three equal payments for Fall quarter, two for all other quarters.) The dates for subsequent charges will be included with your first confirmation letter. A processing fee equal to $2 per payment (either $4 or $6 total) will be applied to the first payment.

A valid credit card is required and will be used for payment. Subsequent payments will be auto-charged to the same account used for the first payment. If the new family fee applies, it is charged with the first payment. FOSS’ cancellation policy will apply.

Life happens! We understand that most students will miss one or two lessons over the course of a
quarter. There is enough refresher work built into our lessons that students typically can keep up if they
miss a couple. However, we DO NOT offer make-up lessons, but WE DO offer free FOSS Family Swims
and homework. If your student misses a lesson, let us know and your teacher will provide some
homework tips to help keep your student on their swim path.

If you find you’re unable to make multiple lessons let us know if another time would work better. If
possible, we’ll try and find a class that fits your schedule.
If a student misses more than 20% of
scheduled lessons, they won’t be eligible for our Swimmers Guaranteed
® program.

If you cancel your enrollment more than 14 days before the start of your first lesson, you will not be charged a cancellation fee, and you will receive a credit to your FOSS Family Account or you may request a refund of your full tuition. 

If you cancel your enrollment within 2-14 days before the start of your first lesson, you will not be charged a cancellation fee, and you will receive a credit of your full tuition to your FOSS Family Account.

If you cancel your enrollment less than 2 days before the start of your first lesson, you will be charged a cancellation fee in the amount of one lesson, and you will receive a credit of your remaining tuition to your FOSS Family Account.

If you cancel your enrollment after the start of your first lesson, you will be charged for any lessons that have occurred (regardless of attendance) and a cancellation fee in the amount of one lesson, and you will receive a credit of your remaining tuition to your FOSS Family Account.

What are credits and when do they expire?
In the case that Foss Swim School cancels your lesson(s), a credit for the cancelled lesson(s) will be applied to your Family Account. The standard credits will expire 150 days (about 5 months) after they are given, and the credits given for medical emergencies will expire after 365 days (about 12 months). Credits can be used for future classes. You can find your expiration dates in your Family Account . Click link for more information:

Yes! We offer a variety of discounts. Please note that these discounts are not shown during online checkout and will be applied by our team after you request enrollment.

We also share promotional codes with big savings through email so please make a family account so you don’t miss out!

Once-a-Week Class Discounts*:

Siblings Discount: For siblings enrolling into once-a-week group classes during the same quarter.

  • Full price for the first student enrolled
  • $2 off per lesson for the second student enrolled
  • $3 off per lesson for the third+ student enrolled

Add-a-2nd-Swim Discount: For a student enrolling into a second once-a-week group class during the same quarter.

  • After the third week of lessons, a student can add a second once-a-week class for $16/lesson for the remainder of the quarter.

Camp Class Discount*:

Camp Discount: For students enrolling into a camp in addition to another camp or once-a-week group class during the same quarter.

  • Enroll the same student in a second swim camp in the same quarter for $24 per lesson.

Need-Based Scholarships:

Foss Swim School offers need-based scholarships to increase access to swim lessons. Scholarships are available for once-a-week lessons every quarter. Learn More

*Please note that discounts are mutually exclusive. For example, sibling discounts cannot be combined with add-a-2nd-swim or camp class discounts. Private lessons and semi-private lessons do not contribute to discount logic. With sibling price discounts, the full-price student in the cart is always the highest-value class

Yes! Gift cards are available for purchase online and at our locations. Purchase a gift card here.

Unfortunately, you can’t “drop in” on another class – we can’t ensure capacity in other classes, and prefer to keep cohorts of students together and working with the same teacher as much as possible.

Missing one or two classes per quarter is to be expected and is factored into how our curriculum is structured, so there is no need to take a make-up session. Just let us know, and the next time you attend your teacher will let you know if there is any homework needed.

If you are unable to make multiple classes, let us know if another time would work better; if possible, we’ll try to find a class that fits your schedule. If a student misses more than 20% of scheduled classes, they won’t be eligible for our Swimmers Guaranteed ® program.

The Foss Swim School Swim Path is designed to meet students where they are on their Learn to Swim journey and help them progress at their pace towards graduation as a strong, confident swimmer. Most swimmers repeat levels at some point. But even as the FOSS Swim Path focuses on flexibility, we also realize some swimmers will need extra support.

That’s where Swimmers Guaranteed® comes in with several tools, including an additional teacher in the lesson, extra lesson time, and, in some cases, lessons completely on FOSS. For students aged 3-18 in the Learn to Swim program who attend 80% of their scheduled classes, we will offer that needed support:

  • Second time at a level: If tracking towards a third time at the same level, get a customized plan designed to help your student advance and a special retest at the end of the quarter
  • Third time at a level: After early evaluation, additional resources will be offered if needed, which may include extra instruction or time
  • Fourth+ time at a level: All lessons at a given level after a third effort are on FOSS (free) until the student advances. Free lessons must occur in immediate subsequent quarters.

Please note that Swimmers Guaranteed does not apply to the Swim Stronger Program, Swim Faster Program, Backfloat Baby Program or Private Lessons.

Learn More

School Rules and Policies

As a general rule, we do not close for inclement weather. Under rare circumstances such as blizzards or floods, we will cancel lessons for the safety of our staff and swimmers. In the case of a weather-related closure, credits will be proactively applied to your Family Account.

Depending on when holidays fall, schedules are adjusted appropriately. You can see what dates classes will not be held on our annual calendar.

If FOSS has been ordered to close or otherwise stop providing swim lessons or programs by a public health official or other government authority, or if we need to close the school for any other reason, you will receive a credit for any canceled lessons to your FOSS Family Account.

Parents may bring shatterproof plastic or metal drink containers on the pool deck. No glass, ceramic or other breakable containers allowed. No food is allowed on the pool deck regardless of container or type.

The best rule of thumb is, if you see signs of illness, stay home. It’s the best way to ensure the health of classmates and teachers, and swimming while sick isn’t enjoyable for the student, either.

Missing one or two classes per quarter is to be expected and is factored into how our curriculum is structured, so there is no need to take a make-up session. Just let us know, and the next time you attend your teacher will let you know if there is any homework needed.

We do not require vaccinations for students. We do expect parents to do all they can to ensure the health and safety of their children and those around them by keeping their children home if they exhibit symptoms of any contagious disease.

Showering is a simple, easy way to rinse off common pollutants and bacteria for the health and safety of others sharing the pool.

Do you offer...

We do not offer birthday parties. Due to the popularity of our program, our pools are scheduled for lessons most nights and weekends.

At some locations, if regular lesson schedules allow, we offer FOSS Family Swims where parents and swimmers can enjoy our 91-degree warm water. Pool equipment and toys are available for your use during these events. These events are free, but space is limited so we ask that you sign up in advance. All swimmers must be accompanied by a responsible adult in the water. Check with your local Foss Swim School to learn more.

We do not offer lap swimming at our locations – our pools are configured for learning and easy access rather than distance or exercise.

We do not offer water aerobics at Foss Swim School. Our schedule of classes keep our pools busy most of the week, and our instructors are focused on teaching water acclimation, swim skills and swimming faster.

Yes! These are typically private or semi-private lessons and availability at a specific location depends on instructor and pool availability. Reach out to your local Foss Swim School to learn more.

We do teach kids whatever their situation, whether they have a limb difference, developmental disability, or fear of water. Depending on the situation, we may recommend they join the class their age and skill level would suggest, or we can provide private or semi-private lessons tailored to the child’s needs. In these cases, opportunities may vary by location based on teacher and pool availability. Reach out to your local Foss Swim School to learn more and schedule a free preview lesson, which is strongly recommended.

We offer both private (one on one) and semi-private (two students to one teacher) lessons. Contact your local Foss Swim School to learn more and schedule a free preview lesson, which is strongly recommended in these cases.

We offer two- and four-week camps, the availability of which will vary by quarter based on demand and capacity at a given location. Two-week camps are four sessions per week for two weeks, and four week camps are two sessions per week. These camps follow the same levels as our quarter-long weekly programs, based on age and skill level. Sessions are the same length as the weekly sessions of the same level (30, 45 or 60 minutes, depending on level). Despite fewer overall sessions, students can progress as far as they would in a quarter, since the increased frequency tends to mean less review time each session and students progress faster the more often they swim. Check out your local Foss Swim School to see upcoming camp schedules.

Yes! Refer your friends and you both save when they enroll for their first paid class using your family code. Your code is available in your account under Family Information. Instruct your friends to use that code in their Referral Code field during checkout when making their request as a New Family.

Your friend, if they are a new family (see below), will receive:

  • Waived New Family Fee (a $35 value)
  • A $70 credit to be used for future enrollments

You, as an existing family, will receive:

  • A $35 credit on your account to be used for future enrollments – a $35 value
  • The joy of sharing the love of water with your friends!

Note: A New Family is one that has not previously enrolled at any FOSS location. The new family must register and complete classes before the referring family will be eligible for the credit. Credits received cannot be applied to a current enrollment of the referring family. No cash value.

Backfloat Baby® Levels

In most cases we recommend any swimmer under age 3 starts with our Backfloat Baby® 1 class, whether they are 6 months or 35 months old. The lessons taught are key to water acclimation and higher level classes operate with the assumption your baby is ready to participate. However, there are those swimmers who have already mastered the skills of a supported back float with ears fully submerged and short submersions under water. If this is your situation, call our office and they can help you find the right level for your swimmer.

The class is designed to help teach you, the parent, how to teach your child. You will learn different ways to hold your swimmer in order to better support them as they learn to float on their back, to teach them how to properly climb out of the water if they fall in, the proper way to hold them when practicing submersions, valuable information about water safety and the reasons why certain skills are so important, and even the words to all those songs! Even for a young swimmer who is comfortable in a pool with floatation, loves the bath tub, or already puts their face in, there can be great advantages to starting at the beginning and learning the fundamentals of the skills.

The Backfloat Baby® program is designed to acclimate our youngest students to the water and eventually help them to transition into independent classes more successfully. You will be amazed what babies and toddlers are capable of in the water!

Children just starting out will learn:

  • Water Adjustment Skills
  • Breath Control
  • Comfort with short submersions
  • Comfort on their back, relaxing with their ears submerged under water (with full support)
  • Proper response to falling in the water (turn, swim to wall, and climb out)
  • Depth awareness

Graduates of the Backfloat Baby® program will have learned:

  • Independent swimming for short distances with no floatation
  • Independent back float
  • Flipping from back to front independently
  • Flipping from front to back with assistance
  • Independently entering water over their head and safely climbing out
  • A joy and healthy respect for the water!

Yes, a parent or caregiver is required to be with each baby in the class.

In each Backfloat Baby® class, you will enter the water with your little one and your instructor will lead you through a series of songs and games. Each activity is geared towards the age and development of the swimmers and is designed to teach a specific skill set. Skills taught throughout the four levels of Backfloat Baby® classes range from water adjustment to safe entry and exit of the water to independent paddling and back floats.

Each class you attend will follow roughly the same routine from the start of class to the finish. While the routine will seem repetitive to you as an adult, it is vitally important to creating an ideal learning environment for children of this age. The routine helps them to know what will happen next and this aids in comfort, confidence, trust, and a sense of control – all of which promote better learning.

Many parents are surprised to find that their child is more comfortable submerging under water than floating on their backs. One common reason is that in order to float independently on their back, a child’s ears must be fully submerged under water. Our balance is controlled by our inner ears. Water flowing in and around the ear can cause a child to feel as though they are falling. It is a strange sensation that often is overcome by exposure and repetition. Eventually, with enough exposure, that feeling will be completely normal.

One of the reasons we start lessons at 6 months is that, in most cases, a fear of the water has not set in. By getting ahead of it and introducing water adjustment in a safe and baby friendly environment, odds are good your child will develop a healthy respect and joy of the water rather than fear.

However, some babies and young toddlers will already have developed a fear or dislike of the water. In these cases, we highly recommend sticking with your lessons; stopping or avoiding water could cause a child’s fear to become worse as they grow older. Most importantly, keep up a strong line of communication with your instructor. They will help you pinpoint what skills are making your child nervous and introduce you to various coping mechanisms to work on with your little one both in the pool and at home.

If your swimmer is crying in class, don’t feel that you need to force participation in every skill. Work with your instructor to find modified exercises or games to help with increasing comfort while still practicing skills. With the right approach, constant encouragement, and a whole lot of patience, your little one will be splashing and smiling in the water!

We require that all swimmers under age 3 wear a reusable swim diaper. While there are many disposable swim diapers on the market today, these products rarely seal as effectively around the waist and legs as the reusable swim diapers. As children in our classes are moving around and climbing in and out of the pool, an effective seal is necessary to prevent leaks. Because a leaky diaper can lead to pool closures and missed lessons for numerous children, we choose to require the more effective reusable swim diapers. They are available at most major retailers, and we also carry some in the swim shop for your convenience.

All children under the age of 3 are required to wear a reusable swim diaper. While we understand that some children are potty trained before age 3, we also know that accidents do happen. A child that normally is very good about communicating when they need to use the bathroom may not realize the effect 91 degree warm water can have on a little body or may get caught up in the fun of swimming and not want to leave. If an accident does happen, depending on the nature of the accident, the pool must be closed—and sometimes drained, cleaned, and refilled—until it is safe to swim again. This can result in numerous children missing out on their swimming lessons. To prevent this, we do require all children under age 3 to wear reusable swim diapers.

Learn-to-Swim Levels

Our goal is to provide every swimmer the life skill of being able to swim an uninterrupted, correct, and confident 300-yard freestyle. Sometimes parents believe that their child’s ability to perform a skill once, or traversing a pool regardless of form, is a sign that they have “learned to swim.” Our program recognizes the need for repetition to truly learn a skill, and the need to maintain proper form to ensure a swimmer doesn’t tire prematurely. The 300-yard standard is a good measure that the necessary skills have been learned and endurance built.

Young swimmers tire quickly and lack the physical development necessary to sustain treading water. They have larger heads and smaller hands in proportion to the rest of their body. We believe it is irresponsible to teach a child a skill which will expend their energy and could endanger them. Instead we teach skills which result in your child being safer such as floating on their back or swimming to safety. Treading water is a skill best learned later.

A swimmer will advance to the next level when they are able to demonstrate mastery of all skills for their current level. It is expected that a swimmer may need multiple sessions in a given level as our program is built on this mastery of skills. Even if a swimmer is not moving up to the next level, we do guarantee your child will improve each session  learn more about Swimmers Guaranteed®.

No, parents are only in the water for Backfloat Baby classes (BB1, BB2, BB3, BB4)

Most swimmers will only need a suit and towel. For any swimmer under age 3 or who is not potty trained, a reusable swim diaper is also required.

While not necessary, you may also want to pack your own goggles, fins, swim cap, and dechlorinating shampoo and/or conditioner.

If you are unsure of which level to register for, we do offer a free in-water Preview Lesson. However, we also evaluate each student at the first lesson and will address any situation where a class is clearly not going to work. If you have concerns, please let a FOSS team member know right away.

Our goal is to provide the best lessons for our swimmers and to always have swimmers in the best class for their skill and development level. The best lessons get better results.

The same teacher will teach each class in a given session or Progress Builder Swim Camp®. As our instructor’s schedules change from session to session, we can not guarantee the same instructor as your previous session or camp. However, it never hurts to ask! We try to meet as many requests as possible.

Having engaged, attentive parents close by is a plus for safety, promotes teacher/parent communication, provides motivation to swimmers, and encourages teacher accountability. Instructors will communicate to you how your child is progressing and will give homework tips for them to work on between lessons out of the pool.

We recognize parents may need to watch another child, and in some cases your swimmer needs you to be out of sight so they can focus on the lesson or bond with their instructor. In these cases our facilities do offer a view room and viewing area.

To get a full view of the levels included in our program and details of what is taught in each level, we encourage you to check out the Swim Path® page on our website. But in general, levels are broken down by age and skill level, so swimmers are always with a group of peers who have roughly comparable ability and maturity. This also means students will not take a linear path through all the levels offered – a fast learner may get to an advanced skill level while still 6 or 7 years old, while many students will age into the Middle or Big groups as they progress, and some students will be taking their first ever lesson in a Middle or Big beginner level. It’s all about meeting swimmers where they are at on the Swim Path®.

The student to teacher ratio of each level is optimized for the learning ability at that age. Older kids are able to learn with less close instruction, and larger classes are also more fun and give students the chance to push each other and learn by watching each other. Our highest levels may even have a 6:1 or 7:1 ratio – because in our experience, that’s the way they learn best!

Our classes range from 30 to 60 minutes in length. Class length is tailored to the level – younger students and students earlier in their progression have shorter classes, and older, more experienced swimmers have longer classes. This is because older students have the physical and mental ability to swim longer, and more advanced swimmers benefit from more repetition and longer swim lengths to build strength and stamina.

For our weekly swim classes, we operate on a quarterly basis. The quarters are not exactly equal in length due to holidays and other factors, so quarters will range from 13 to 15 weeks. Our swim camps are typically 8 sessions across two or four weeks, but some may be 7 sessions if a holiday falls within that period.

A free preview lesson is exactly what it sounds like – a free, no-obligation chance to bring your child to a Foss Swim School for a private session. It’s a chance for you to see Foss Swim School in action, see if you like it, and see how your child responds. It’s also the best way to get a precise level recommendation, since the instructor can see what your child already knows about swimming and how they perform. Learn more about preview lessons and get started here.

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