I can still remember my son’s first swim teacher at SwimWest. Her name was Allison and she was incredible – both as a teacher, and as a person. My son was not always easy in those early toddler years, but she handled his personality with ease and got him to both pay attention AND progress rapidly. He didn’t always listen, and he didn’t always behave, but no matter what he threw her way, she was able to gracefully respond. Under her teaching, my son fell in love with swimming – despite being a very reluctant swimmer in his first months at SwimWest.
Slowly, as Allison built a relationship with him brick by brick, he began to look forward to his time in the pool. He stopped crying each lesson. He began to try new things – blowing bubbles! Floating on his back! As Allison carefully pulled his small body through the water, he knew he was safe. As she sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star while he floated along, he gained confidence in himself.
I loved those early days of swim lessons because each lesson felt like a leap. I regularly took videos of my son jumping off the edge for the first time or trying “scoops” for the first time. I was SO proud, and SO thankful for a teacher that would put in the effort to connect and motivate my (sometimes challenging) toddler.
The thing is, it wasn’t just Allison (though she was absolutely wonderful). I could probably name every swim teacher my kids have had over the past 8 years (not counting substitutes) because they truly took the time to get to know the kids and build relationships with them.
Some were better fits than others, but each instructor found a way to motivate the kids in a positive way – chatting about Harry Potter, telling jokes, making up silly water games or asking questions about school. Each lesson was a chance for the instructor to build rapport with the kids and use that relationship to help the child progress in their skills.
SwimWest is definitely a place that prides itself on more than just teaching swim skills. They have created a positive culture that starts from the instructors and is shared with the kids. I love that we have found a place where both my kids know their teachers as people – what they love to do on the weekends, or their favorite books. It creates a sense of community and trust that has helped my kids enjoy their lessons each week – even in the middle of a brutally cold winter.
So, many thanks to Allison, Jon, Kyle, Ethan, Kristina and ALL the amazing teachers at SwimWest. You’re building strong kids – inside and out!