Red Cross Preschool Swim

8-level program for children

four months to 5 years of age

Give your child the gift of aquatic fun and swimming at an early age. Songs, games and introductory swimming skills will make your child comfortable and happy in the water. Each level is built around an aquatic animal mascot, which makes lessons engaging and fun. The instructor uses progressive teaching techniques adapted to each child and provides constant feedback and encouragement.

Parents will participate in the classes with their child for the first three levels or until they reach the age of 3. Children enter a level based on their age and abilities.




Starfish (4 months to 12 months)

An orientation to water for babies and their parent/caregiver (assisted). To enter this level, babies must be able to hold their head up. The goals are to help babies experience buoyancy and movement through songs and play in the water and to teach the parent/caregiver age-specific water safety. This level is participation-based only, without formal evaluation.




Duck (12 months to 24 months)

An orientation to water for toddlers and their parent/caregiver. Age is the only condition for entering this level. Swimmers learn how to use floating objects for support and explore different water movements through games, songs, and active water play. The parent/caregiver also learns age-specific water safety. This level is participation based only, without formal evaluation.




Sea Turtle (24 to 36 months)

An orientation to water for toddlers and their parent/caregiver. Age is the only condition for entering this level. Swimmers learn through fun games and songs, how to combine skills, how to kick with a buoyant object and how to perform basic floats, glides and kicks. This level is participation-based only, without formal evaluation.


Sea-Otter (3 to 5 years)

A transitional level that transfers the preschooler to the care of the instructor. All skills are assisted by the instructor. Swimmers enter this level when they are 3 years of age. Using games and activities, swimmers learn to open their eyes under water, further develop basic floats and glides and swim 1 metre. They also learn age-appropriate water safety skills. Swimmers are evaluated based on performance criteria and progress to Salamander once all the criteria have been successfully completed.


Salamander (3 to 5 years)

Swimmers enter this level when they have successfully completed Sea Otter. Using games and activities, swimmers learn to swim 2 metres, further develop basic floats and increase their distance on front and back glides. Front swim and roll-over glides are also included, and swimmers learn appropriate water safety skills such as how to jump into chest-deep water and how to use a Personal Flotation Device (PDF). Safety skills development includes water orientation, safe entries and exits and only swimming when an adult is present. Swimmers are evaluated based on performance criteria and progress to Sunfish once all criteria have been successfully completed.




Sunfish (3 to 6 years)

Swimmers enter this level when they have successfully completed Salamander. Using games and activities, swimmers learn to swim 5 metres, increase their distance using buoyant objects, increase their front and back glide and kick, and develop their roll-over glide, side glide and front swim. Safety skills include deep-water skills and use of a Personal Flotation Device(PDF). Safety skills development such as water orientation, safe entries and exits and always asking for permission before going near the water. Swimmers are evaluated based on perfomance criteria and progress to Crocodile once all criteria have been successfully completed.




Crocodile (3 to 6 years)

Swimmers enter this level when they have successfully completed Sunfish. Through games and other fun activities, swimmers learn to swim 5 metres on their front and back, perform a dolphin kick and begin using rhythmic breathing. They also progress with kicking drills and increase their swimming distance to 10 metres. Safety skills include jumping into deep-water and performing surface support for 10 seconds, recognizing when a swimmer needs help and using a Personal Flotation Device (PDF) in deep water. Swimmers are evaluated based on performance criteria and progress to Whale once all criteria have been successfully completed.




Whale (3 to 6 years)

Swimmers enter this level when they have successfully completed Crocodile. Through fun activities, swimmers perform a front and back swim for 10 metres. Swimmers work on developping their flutter kick and perform a distance swim of 15 metres. Safety skills include indentifying safe swimming areas, jumping into deep water, swimming 5 metres, surface support for 20 seconds a return to safety, throwing assists and sitting dives. Swimmers are evaluated based on performance criteria and complete the program once all criteria have achieved. Children 5 years or older are ready for the appropriate level of Red Cross Swim Kids.

For more information

Telephone: 514-684-0070

Email: aaddo@ddo.qc.ca