Modified Swimming Lessons

Online Registration

Modified swimming lessons at our pools are open for registration via ActiveSTC.

All advanced Leadership courses will continue to run.

Learn more, including how to create an account here

In person Registration

In person registration is available at the following locations:

  • St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre - 425 Carlton St.

COVID-19 Information for Swimming Lessons

The City of St. Catharines will be conducting swimming lessons in accordance to the below recommendations from the Canadian Red Cross.


The Canadian Red Cross continues to promote the safety of participants enrolled in any Canadian Red Cross Swimming Water Safety programs.  The Swimming Lesson & Water Safety Program Training COVID-19 Protocol was released by Canadian Red Cross with the following accommodations for effective reduction of risk of transmission of disease during swimming lessons.  

  • Instructors need to maintain physical distancing (two metres apart), with swimmers and parents / caregivers.
  • For all levels in Red Cross Swim Preschool, up to and including Red Cross Swim Kids 1-4, physical distancing and safety can be maintained for participants by:
    • Conducting classes as parented classes to reduce the risk of disease transmission through physical distancing, as the parent/caregiver is now accountable to ensure that the child is safe in the water and reduces the contact with the Instructor.
    • Swimmers and parents / caregivers should maintain physical distancing (two metres apart), with other swimmers and parents / caregivers in the class.
  • Reduction in the class size depending on pool space to maintain physical distancing.

We will be offering the following lesson format:

PreSchool Levels and Swim Kids 1-4

All levels Starfish to Swim 4 will be parented classes. Parent or caregiver must be at least 15 years of age with competent swimming ability and living in the same household as the registered swimmer. Lessons will be taught by the instructor from the pool deck, and the parent or caregiver will be in the water with the swimmer. Classes will be 30 minutes with reduced class sizes and skill modifications.

Swim 5 – 10

For levels Swim 5 – 10, swimmers will be maintaining physical distancing with the instructor and other participants throughout the lesson. Classes will have reduced class sizes and skill modifications.

COVID-19 Information for Advanced Leadership Courses

Leadership classes (Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, National Lifeguard, Red Cross Water Safety Instructors and Standard First Aid) will continue in a modified format.

For our courses, we are offering them through a conventional delivery with enhanced safety protocols and cleaning, physical distancing requirements and reduced class sizes. 

Individual equipment will be available for each participant. Participants must bring a face mask or face covering. Masks or face coverings must be worn at all times in the facility and classroom, except in the water.

During in water sessions, manikins will be used.

Participants will also work with "bubble buddies," a defined partner or group of three that work together exclusively throughout the course or recertification to limit physical contact with others when a skill will need to be demonstrated on a person. For an exam, participants will be required to perform their skills on a person.


Lesson Fees


Lesson Fees
St.Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre 5 Classes  6 Classes
 Starfish to Whale $38.07 $45.21
 Swim Kids Levels 1-6 $38.07 $45.21
 Swim Kids Levels 7-10  $41.81 $49.71
Outdoor Pools 5 Classes  
Starfish to Whale $35.29  
Swim Kids Levels 1-6 $35.29  
Swim Kids Levels 7-10 $39.29  

All fees are per participant.

Modified Red Cross Swim Lessons for preschool age (Sea Otter, Salamander, Sunfish, Crocodile & Whale) and school age Levels 1 - 4, require an adult be in the pool with the child.
Typically this is the instructor, however current protocols require Instructors to physical distance six feet from participants except in case of an emergency. 

Beginning in the fall of 2020 a caregiver who is 19 years of age and over is required to be in the water with each child at all times during the lesson. The caregiver should be comfortable in chest deep water and able to hold the participant as needed when practicing skills.

Family Rates 


Registering one child: Full Price

Registering two children: First child at full price, each additional child 20% discount. Children must be from the same family, living in the same household registered in the same session for a recreational program and the Red Cross Swim Lessons, Rookie, Ranger or Star program. Excludes Private Lessons, Semi-Private Lessons and Leadership Programs.


Refund Policy and Program Transfer

These policies apply to all classes except Aquatic Leadership:

  • No refunds or transfers will be issued after the 3rd class. If the program has started, registration fees will be refunded on a pro-rated basis.
  • A Program Withdrawl Refund Request form must be completed and approved by a Recreation Supervisor. Please bring in your receipt with you when making the request.
  • All refunds and transfers are subject to a $11.95 per person, per registration administration fee.
  • A full (100%) refund is given if a program is cancelled by the City of St.Catharines.
  • Refunds or transfers can be requested at any Registration Centre.

This policy applies to all Aquatic Leadership Programs:

  • Refunds will only be issued 14 prior to the start of the program.
  • No refunds will be issued after this time frame.

This policy applies to all First Aid Courses:

  • No refunds will be issued. 

Specialty Swimming Lesson Programs

Angel Fish (3 to 14 years)

In this class for children with learning, physical or intellectual difficulties, the focus will be on developing sound water safety habits and basic swimming skills. To participate in this program, each child must be accompanied in the water by a caregiver/volunteer. The caregiver/volunteer must be at least 14 years of age and comfortable in a water environment. The caregiver/volunteer should be familiar with the child's physical and emotional needs and be capable of managing their general progress in a safe manner. Our qualified Adapted Aquatics Instructors will work with caregivers/volunteers to help children learn to swim and be water safe. An affordable alternative for children with unique physical or educational needs who struggle in our Red Cross Swim Program.

To view course times and availability or to register, please visit ePlay.


Six Steps to Successful Swimming Lessons


1. Participate in a Leisure Swim before the first lessons. Orient your child to the change room, washrooms and pool. Everyone likes to know what to expect. Have fun in the water and practice skills that your child already knows.

2. Have your child assessed to determine the appropriate level you should register your child. We offer free of charge screening during any leisure swimming time at all City of St. Catharines Pools.

3. Swimming is like any other skill; it requires lots of patience, practice and positive feedback. Children need to progress at their own rate. Talk with your child about appropriate lessons and have realistic expectations. Look upon swim lessons as a long-term progression, a time for enjoyment in a special environment!

4. Speak to your child's instructor. Ask about progress and any areas that you could work on with your child during Leisure Swim.

5. Look for the Head Guard to help direct you to where you should be. They provide a link between you and the Instructor. Ask the Head Guard and they will be happy to assist you.

6. Please check your registration receipt carefully for lesson dates, times and cancellations due to holidays and special events.


Evaluation Process

Parent updates will take place mid and end of session.

Children in the Red Cross levels are progressively evaluated throughout the session. Each Child will receive a progress card at the end of each session. Children completing a level will receive a badge or a sticker. Progress reports and report cards are kept on file for one complete session. If your child has not taken lessons for more than a year or you are unsure as to which level they should be registered in, please bring your child to any Leisure Swim for a free assessment.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a modified swim lesson?

The Canadian Red Cross Learn to Swim Program offered at the St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre are modified to follow COVID-19 precautions and restrictions. All City Red Cross Swim offerings have been modified so that physical distancing will be maintained.

Current protocols require Swim Instructor maintain six feet of physical distancing from participants except in cases of emergency. Starting in the fall of 2020 caregivers who are 19 years of age and older, are required to be in the water with each child at all times during the lessons for preschool and Swim Kids Levels 1 - 4. The caregiver must be comfortable in the chest deep water and able to hold participants as needed as they practice skill..


What happens if there is a pool fouling or the pool is closed during my lesson?

Everyone is affected when the pool is fouled. Babies, tots and those without bowel control must wear snug protective swim diapers. All participants should avoid eating or drinking too much prior to swimming and those not feeling well should stay at home.

In the event of a pool closure, children will be taught water safety and are encouraged to come to the lesson. There will be no make-up classes due to absenteeism, thunder, lightning, pool foulings, emergency or maintenance closures.

What if my child is registered in an incorrect level?

Classes are geared to students registered in the appropriate level only. Every effort will be made to place your child in the appropriate level, however this is not always possible. Anyone who registers in an incorrect level (above or below the child's ability) will be de-registered and will be charged an administration fee.

What if my child took swimming lessons elsewhere? What level should they be registered in?

Check out the below comparison charts to determine the Red Cross Swim level your child should be registered in.

Red Cross comparison chart to Lifesaving Society

Red Cross comparison chart to YMCA

Why was my course cancelled?

Insufficient registration may result in class changes or cancellations. Some classes may be combined with another.

Why is my child or I being asked to take a shower before entering the pool?

It's CLEAN, It's GREEN, It's the LAW! Regulation 565/90 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act states that: Every bather shall shower or bath using soap and warm water before entering the deck.

Why do I need to remove my shoes when on the pool deck?

Street shoes and strollers are not permitted on the pool deck under Regulation 565/90 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Please remember to bring your indoor sandals or slippers when you come to the pool.

My child has completed Swim Kids Level 10. What can they do?

The City of St.Catharines offers youth swimming lessons and leadership programs. Consider lifeguarding or swimming instruction as an investment in your child's future.  Visit our Youth Lessons page for more information.

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