FAQ’s

Flamingo FAQ's & Answers


There are some common questions that we are asked by our potential clients. We hope that this page will help answer some of the questions that you may have about our services.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please let us know through our contact form.

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Backyard Swimming Lessons:

Our swim instructors can teach children ages 4 months – 14 years old.
At this time we do not offer backyard swim instruction for adults.

Our semi-private lessons are for two swimmers of similar swimming ability. If the swimmers are attempting a Red Cross swim level, they must be in the same level (or very similar). Unlike the City of Ottawa, we do not put together swimmers for semi-private lessons so clients are responsible for signing up two swimmers for these types of classes. Only have one swimmer, sign up for our private lessons!

Our semi-private lessons are for two swimmers of similar swimming ability.   Many clients request to have three or four children per class, but it is our company’s policy to cap classes to two swimmers.

When you combine more than two children, it becomes trickier for our instructor to tailor the lesson to the children’s strengths and weaknesses.  Children are never identical and each one has a different learning style.  By capping classes at two swimmers, our instructors can help guarantee that all of our students become a stronger swimmer at the end of every session.

Of course they will!  Flamingo in the Backyard is a training partner with the Red Cross which enables us to provide our swimmers with a Red Cross swim report card.  Swimmers will also receive a level sticker or badge if they successfully complete all the requirements for their swim level.

If the weather is looking dangerous for swimming (i.e., thunder, lightning, or extremely heavy rain) and it is less than 4 hours before the service, then it is up to the instructor’s discretion to decide if the service should proceed or be rescheduled. Your instructor has been instructed to only make this decision no earlier than 1 hour prior to the service. This is because weather can change depending on what area of the city you are in.

If the weather is looking horrible and it is getting close to the service time, your instructor will call you and give you the option to cancel the service and reschedule (at no charge to you).

If you agree to postpone the lesson, the service can be rescheduled at no cost. When re-booking the service, please ensure you mention in the notes section that it is a replacement service due to weather since this will notify me to not charge your account for the service.

If you do not want to reschedule and would like the instructor to still come – that is fine, but if while the instructor is teaching or lifeguarding the weather becomes dangerous, they will end the service. You will not receive a free reschedule for the remaining service time.

Good weather turns bad during lesson

If the weather was ok when your service started but turns bad during the service, the instructor will end the lesson and the leftover service time will be added to future lessons. For example if 15 minutes of a swimming lesson has been taught and then a thunderstorm hits, the instructor would make up the remaining 15 minutes over the next lesson or two (whatever their schedule permits).

Please cancel the lesson through our Acuity online booking service or by emailing us at info@flamingointhebackyard.ca
How To Cancel through Acuity
You have up to 4 hours prior to your lesson to cancel the lesson through Acuity or to call us to cancel the lesson.
You will be allowed to reschedule this lesson at no cost if we receive the required notice.
If you do not reschedule the lesson during the same calendar year as your initial purchase, the lesson will remain on your account for a future summer.  At this time, we do not provide refunds for unused lessons.
Cancel after 4 hours due to non-weather issues
After the 4 hour cut-off time, please call or text your instructor to cancel the lesson if needed.  The lesson will not be rescheduled, and no refund will be given.

Preschool swim levels are for children ages 4 months – 6 years old.  There are eight Preschool levels and children will progress through these levels based on their age and swimming ability.

  • Starfish:  4 – 12 months (parent participation required).  Babies and their caregivers work on getting wet, buoyancy and movement, front, back and vertical position in the water, and shallow water entries and exits
  • Duck:  12 – 24 months (parent participation required).  Babies and their caregivers work on rhythmic breathing, moving forward and backward, front and back float with recovery, and shallow water entries and exits.
  • Sea Turtle:  24 – 36 months (parent participation optional).  Toddlers (and their caregivers) work on submersion, front and back floats and glides, jumping into chest-deep water with assistance, kicking on front and front swim.
  • Sea Otter:  3 – 5 yrs.  Swimmers work on front and back floats and glides, kicking on front with a buoyant object, and will be able to swim 1 metre upon completion of this level.
  • Salamander:  3 – 5 yrs.  Swimmers work on improving their front and back float and jumping into chest-deep water unassisted. Kicking is added to the front and back glide and swimmers will be able to swim 2 metres upon completion
  • Sunfish:  3 – 6 yrs.  Swimmers work on kicking and can perform glides (front and back), enter deep water safely, float in deep water, swim with a PFD, and swim 5 metres continuously.
  • Crocodile:  3 – 6 yrs.  Swimmers further develop the front and back glide with kick, front and back swim, jump into deep water, swim with a PFD in deep water, and swim 10 metres continuously.
  • Whale:  3 – 6 yrs.  Swimmers increase their distance on front and back glide with kick, increase distance on front and back swim, learn the sitting dive, and will be able to swim 15 metres continuously upon completion of the level.
Swim Kids swim levels are for children ages 5 – 12.  There are ten Swim Kids levels and children progress through the levels upon completion of the previous level.
  • Swim Kids 1:  Swimmers receive an orientation to water and pool area and work on floats, glides and kicking. Swimmers build their endurance by working on the 5 meters front swim.
  • Swim Kids 2:  Swimmers work on propulsion skills to move through the water and to remain at surface while doing front, back and side glides. Swimmers work on front swim, and learn about deep-water activities and the proper use of Personal Floating Device (PFD) Perform a 10 meters swim.
  • Swim Kids 3:  Swimmers increase their distance on front, back and Swimmers receive an orientation to water and pool area and work on floats, glides and kicking. Swimmers build their endurance by working on the 5 meters front swim. side glide with kick, increase distance on front and back swim, learn the sitting dive and will be able to swim 15 meters continuously upon completion of level.
  • Swim Kids 4:  Swimmers learns back swim and front crawl (10m), work on flutter kick on back, perform kneeling dive, introduction to sculling and can swim 25 meters continuously.
  • Swim Kids 5:  Swimmers develop front crawl (15m), learn back crawl (15m) and whip kick on back, learn stride dive and treading water, perform head-first sculling on back, and swim 50 meters continuously
  • Swim Kids 6:  Swimmers increase their distance on front and back crawl (25m) , learn elementary back stroke and the dolphin kick. They also swim 75 meters continuously
  • Swim Kids 7:  Swimmers increase their distance on front and back crawl (50m) and elementary back stroke (25m). They learn front scull and stride entry. Perform whip kick on front and the dolphin kick. They also swim 150 meters continuously
  • Swim Kids 8:  Front crawl, back crawl and elementary backstroke to be refined They learn breast stroke, eggbeater/tread water, feet-first surface dive and standing shallow dive. Swim 300 meters continuously
  • Swim Kids 9:  Front crawl, back crawl, elementary backstroke and breaststroke continue to be refined. Learn side stroke kick and head-first surface dive. Swim 400 meters continuously
  • Swim Kids 10:  Further refinement of strokes. They learn side stroke, dolphin kick (vertical), and feet- and head-first surface dives with underwater swim. Swim 500 meters continuously

That’s not a problem at all!  Your instructor can run a swim level assessment at your first lesson and then place your child in the appropriate level.  

We do need to know roughly what level your child is in so that they are registered for the correct lesson length (30 mins, 45 mins, or 60 mins).  If you read the above answer about the Red Cross swim levels, you should be able to pick out roughly what level your child is in. 

In order to attempt a Red Cross swim level, swimmers must complete:

  • six 30-minute lessons for Starfish through Swim Kids 3
  • six 45-minute lessons for Swim Kids 4 through 7
  • six 60-minute lessons for Swim Kids 8 through 10

Backyard Lifeguarding & Birthday Parties:

Parties are always hectic – lots going on and as the party host, you will have numerous other tasks to take care of.  By hiring one of our lifeguards, you can have the piece of mind knowing that all the swimmers are having fun safely.

Even if there are other parents near the pool, nothing can replace having a dedicated set of eyes on the pool.  When there are lots of parents around, everyone thinks that someone else is watching their child.  Our lifeguards have had to jump in a rescue a child that was right beside the parent in the pool.  On example of this would be when a parent was chatting with another parent sitting on a deck chair.  The parent in the water didn’t notice that their child had slipped into the deep-end.  Our lifeguard had to jump in and pull the child to safety as the child was already submerged seconds after slipping down the slope towards the deep-end.

We can lifeguard pool parties of up to 30 swimmers (in the pool at the same time).  Our lifeguard to swimmer ratio is 1:15.  So if you have 15 or less swimmers, you should hire one lifeguard.  If you are having 15 – 30 swimmers, you should book two lifeguards.

– No running around the pool
– No pushing in or around the pool
– No standing on any pool floats or toys
– Only one person on the diving board at a time

In addition to the above rules, please note that our lifeguards will have the sole discretion to decide what entries are allowed into the pool as it will depend on the size and depth of your pool (as well as the number of swimmers in the pool).  At no time will flips of any type be allowed.  Dives and other jumps into the deep end will be up to your lifeguard’s discretion.

Non-swimmers and swimmers who cannot pass the swim test must remain in the shallow end.  Our lifeguards reserve the right to request a child to wear a flotation device if they feel like the child would be in danger by not wearing one.  

Your lifeguard will chat with you when they arrive at your house and can discuss if there are any additional rules you would like enforced.

You must provide us with a minimum of 24 hours notice if you would like to cancel or reschedule your party.  If we receive this notice, you will be allowed to reschedule the party to another date during the summer at no cost.  If you do not want to reschedule the party, you will be refunded the cost of the party minus our $25 administration fee.

If the weather is poor the day of your party, we will not be able to provide a refund or a time/date change if the mandatory 24 hours notice is not given.

When we send lifeguards to your pool, they will only be responsible for ensuring that all swimmers follow the rules.  Watching the pool is a full-time job so if you only purchase our lifeguarding service, your lifeguard will not be able to run any games during the party.

If you book our Pool Birthday Party service, we will send two lifeguards to your party.  One lifeguard will focus on ensuring that all swimmers are following the rules while the other lifeguard facilitates games to keep all the swimmers happy.  We don’t want anyone to be left out of the fun!

Company Policies & Booking System:

Absolutely no photography is allowed unless consent is received from your instructor. The instructor must also be allowed to view the pictures that you took. If you would like to photograph your swimmer that is permissible as long as your instructor is not in the photograph.

Absolutely no video taking is allowed during any of our services (regardless if you have instructor permission or not).

Yes, it does! Once you have booked your first lesson, be sure to create a client Acuity account. If you do this, you will be able to login into your account and the system will remember all of your information.

No more repetitive entering of the same information. Yay!