Zoey’s school has this amazing program where they take all the kids down to the community center a couple blocks away and teach them to swim. They take turns by grade, starting with the oldest kids in fall and winter and ending with the kindergarteners in the (theoretically warmer) spring. Once a week for four weeks I did my parental volunteer duty and walked with a group of about thirty kids from the elementary school to the pool, pushing Alden along in a stroller. He and I watched while Teacher Steve taught them to put their faces in the water, try to sit on the bottom of the pool and blow bubbles, do a “starfish float” on their bellies and float on their backs. Then I helped corral all the girls in the locker room, encouraging them to rinse off in the showers and get dressed quickly.
On the final day, the kids were given a ton of pool noodles and balls and told to just have fun and enjoy themselves. It was really neat to watch their confidence grow over the four weeks. Most started off quite timid, other than a couple who had clearly already had many swim lessons. They all realized the first day that they could touch the bottom in the shallow end and keep their heads above water. This boosted their confidence a lot, and it kept growing over the next few weeks. Watching their chaotic joy on the last day was so much fun.