How old does my child need to be to take lessons?
Children must be four years of age (or turn four during the cycle) to participate in the Learn to Skate program.
What should I/my child wear for lessons?
Loose, comfortable clothes that are easy to move around in. Layers provide for control of body temperature, but make sure they do not constrict movement. Thin to medium weight socks should be worn, never wear two pairs. A hat and gloves or mittens should be worn, especially by children. Although it is not mandatory, any protective equipment can be worn (i.e. helmet, knee pads, etc.). Do not wear ski pants or snow suits. They tend to be too long for the instructor to see if the student is skating properly and not turning their ankles. Hockey Learn to Skate participants must wear USA Hockey approved hockey helmet with full face mask, hockey gloves and hockey skates. Hockey Skills Clinic participants must wear full hockey equipment with USA Hockey approved helmet and full face mask.
Which type of skates are appropriate?
Either single blade figure or hockey skates may be used for the Learn to Skate program. A good quality skate will provide the best support to help the student balance and skate properly. Fit is very important when it comes to skates. They should fit snugly but should not be painful although they may not feel as comfortable as sneakers or shoes do. They should be laced tightly starting at the toes, a little looser through the instep and then tighter through the ankle. Socks should be long enough to come above the skate. All skates should be sharpened prior to the start of lessons. High quality rental skates are available for lessons at a small cost. Due to the amount of use these skates get, it cannot be guaranteed that they will provide for a proper fit or that they would be as sharp as you may like. Therefore, it is best to have your own skates for the lessons.
Can I go on the ice with my child?
Only participants in the classes will go on the ice. However, parents are encouraged to stay for the duration of the class to observe. Please be seated in the bleachers or in the front lounge area and avoid standing along the glass or by the rink doors as this causes a great distraction for the children and disrupts the class.
If my child misses a lesson (illness, vacation, etc.), can they have a make-up lesson?
Unfortunately, there are no make-ups. We have up to 500 children enrolled in each cycle and make-ups would be virtually impossible to schedule and would disrupt the continuity of the lessons. Therefore, every effort should be made to attend each scheduled lesson.
Are lessons held during school vacation?
The rink follows the West Hartford Public School schedule for vacations. There are no classes held during SCHEDULED school closings. The only exception to this is the spring vacation when the rink WILL hold lessons.
Are lessons cancelled when the schools close or have early dismissal for snow?
Yes. Whenever West Hartford Public Schools cancel school or close early we will cancel Learn to Skate Lessons. When we cancel classes due to the weather, public skating passes will be issued as reimbursement.
If I start classes late, will they be prorated?
Classes will be pro rated if you register late through the third class of a cycle. All efforts should be made to attend all lessons in a cycle to attain the best results and to not disrupt the flow of the classes. Classes will not be pro rated for lessons that will be missed during a cycle due to vacation, appointments, etc.
Are lesson fees refundable?
Refunds can be given for medical purposes prior to the start of lessons. All refund requests must be accompanied by a doctor's note. Credits may be given for extenuating circumstances only, at the discretion of the rink manager.
How long are the classes?
All classes (with the exception of Adult classes which include 30 minutes of instruction and 30 minutes of practice time) will meet for 45 minutes. LTS 1 classes will have a five-minute off ice break. The instructor will use this time to talk to the children as part of the class so it is asked that parents please refrain from interrupting the break.
Who teaches the lessons?
The rink has a highly qualified staff of instructors who show a talent for working with children to teach the Learn to Skate classes. All instructors have passed various levels of skating tests and are continuously enhancing their own skating and teaching skills.
What will happen the first day of class?
The first day of each cycle is primarily a testing day to determine the ability of each student. The instructors will evaluate each student to find out their level and place them in the correct class. Please understand that the first lesson is unique; your child may not get all of the attention which they would normally receive during future lessons. Also, the task of fitting skates and putting them on may tend to add to the harried pace of the first class. You are always welcome to come in before the start of the cycle at your convenience to try on skates so you will be prepared when the first day of class comes.
How do I know if my child has moved from a waiting list into the class?
If and when spaces become available in a filled class, persons on the waiting list will be contacted in order. Please be aware that this usually does not happen until after the first day of class when the children are evaluated and possibly moved to another level.
How fast will my child progress through the program?
Of course, every individual moves at their own pace but in most cases, a child's progress can be noticed as they gain confidence on the ice. Many factors determine the rate of progress; age, previous experience, amount of practice time, etc. If you have questions about your child's progress throughout the cycle, you may speak to the program director. Please wait until the end of a class to do so. At the end of the cycle, each student will receive a certificate and a list of all skills taught in their level. The instructor will check off all skills achieved and will indicate if your child has moved on to the next level. Children are being evaluated on an ongoing basis to ensure the correct placement of each child.