La Petite Baleen has three core values that our staff strive to meet whether in the pool, at the front desk, or in a back office. Those core values are: Everyone Matters, It Takes a Pod, and Embrace Learning. This month, we’re going to look closely at Embrace Learning - because learning is not something reserved for our students in the pool.
Our learn-to-swim curriculum was developed nearly 40 years ago, but it has evolved greatly since then. When new teachers are hired, they spend about 4 weeks training to learn this curriculum, attending clinics and student teaching with senior members of our pod, but that is just the beginning. We encourage all of our teachers to continue embracing learning by providing monthly workshops.
Workshops vary by topic, usually covering each of our six swim levels (Baby/Toddler, 1-4 and Gold Plus) as well as a handful of other topics relating to child development and how that relates to our curriculum mantra: pace, pattern, compassion and fun. We offer a variety of formats: some are classroom discussions and roundtables while others have teachers in the pool with an advanced teacher and volunteer students to provide the ultimate hands-on learning experience. We even offer a few online-workshops! All teachers are required to attend workshops on Baby & Me, Toddler & Me, Summer Safety, Pace & Pattern and Compassion & Fun within their first year.
Members of our Swimformation and Booking staff also train for about a month before they begin working on their own. They spend the majority of that time learning our enrollment software but they also learn the basics of our curriculum so that they can better help new customers who may not know which swim level is best suited for their child.
Our teaching and Swimformation staff are required to move up within department tiers to ensure that we are providing the best customer service possible, both to the students we teach and the parents who sign them up for lessons. Each department has four tiers - Beginning (when someone is fresh out of training), Basic, Standard and Advanced that staff members can test into when they feel they’re ready and have met the minimum requirements to do so. All staff must be at the Standard tier within 12-18 months depending on department, and each step up includes a pay raise and allows the staff member opportunities to advance.
We strongly believe that every day brings an opportunity to learn more about the work that we do. We know that staff, students and parents all benefit from our staff continuing their education and striving for excellence.