Since J turned 4 this summer I've had plans for him learning to skate. It's a staple. No Canadian child should suffer through these miserable cold winters and not be awarded with the joy of learning to skate [though, luckily, J seems to relish the idea of the weather getting colder and he's anxiously awaiting our first real snowfall of the season].
So when I received our city's fall program I quickly enrolled J in courses. That turned out to be a monumental fail. The first day we went was pure chaos. There were at least 70 kids on the ice... ok, I may be exaggerating a little, but that's what it felt like at the time. There was screaming everywhere and it seemed so disorganized that it just didn't sit right with me. He never even made it on the ice and we left in a hurry. So, I canceled the registration and decided we'd take him to the "free skate" times instead.
What you can't see in the picture is J's smile. He smiled the entire time. A stark contrast to the mass of screaming kids we heard at the group lessons a few weeks back. I don't doubt that things [probably] eventually got better at the scheduled lessons. Maybe if we had stuck to them we would have seen a transition from chaos to some kind of order... but I was not willing to take that chance. And knowing my child, I'm entirely convinced that this is by far a better way for him to learn. Plus, and this is a big plus, he's having fun ;)