Friday, June 8, 2012

Third time's the charm... or not

This week the kids finished their swimming lessons.  Emmett was in swimming lessons for the first time, and I think he enjoyed it.  He was probably the youngest one in the class (the parent/baby class goes from 6m up to age 3, so it's quite a wide range), so he wasn't really doing the stuff the other kids were.  But he liked going down the slide and he liked playing with a ball in the water.  I think it was good water exposure for him, and we'll probably do the class with him once or twice more before he turns 3.

Nice sunburn Carey!
Annika was in Sea Otter (a transition class between the baby class and "real" swimming lessons) for the third time, and for the third time she didn't pass.  I'll admit, I feel a bit disappointed about that, because I think as parents we all want to see our children doing well and improving, regardless of what the task is.  However, despite the fact that she's still quite hesitant in the water, she seems to enjoy swimming lessons and luckily she's still at an age where she's unaware of things like "pass or fail" or "levels", so it's not like this was a blow to her self-esteem. 

There were a few factors this session that I think may have slowed her progress - first of all, she had a different (male) teacher than the one she's had for her past 2 times in Sea Otter (a very lovely girl who was actually Emmett's teacher this time).  Those of you who know Annika know that she's slow to warm up to new people (and often even people she's familiar with!), so even just getting used to someone new (and someone male) was a challenge for her.  But it was also probably good for her, in terms of social skills.  The other thing that could've made a difference was the fact that the shallow pool was closed for 4 sessions (out of 10) and they were squished into the deep pool.  Not only did they not have enough space, but they had to wear life jackets and the pool was quite a bit colder.  By the end of the lesson most of the kids were shivering and anxious to get out of the pool.  I actually called and complained about the number of closures (not that it was the pool's fault - they couldn't have prevented it - but still, we weren't getting what we had paid for) and they gave me a 4-lesson credit for each kid, so that makes up for it a bit.  Note to self: don't enroll in after-supper lessons again - the risk of kids barfing in the pool is just too high (luckily we never saw it happen though - gross).

Annika with her face in the water

Even though she didn't complete the level, I was very proud of her at the last class.  For the last half of the class they got to play with a few special toys, like a canoe and a big, blue tub to sit and float and spin in (you can see it upside-down by the side of the pool in the picture above).  In fall Annika didn't want to go in the canoe or the tub, not even by herself, and she went in both of them this time with the other little girl in her class.  She also went down the slide 3 times, something that she had been quite hestitant about in the past.

I spoke with one of the instructors about the fact that Annika seemed to be having such a hard time with the level, and she said that it wasn't uncommon (she actually said that her own daughter had done Sea Otter 4 times).  She said that sometimes the summer lessons can be helpful for kids (instead of going once a week for 10 weeks, the summer lessons are every day, Monday-Friday for 2 weeks), since they don't forget as much between classes.  I remember those lessons from when I was a kid, and I remember not liking them at all.  In fact, I never went back to swimming lessons after that because I had such a bad experience.  So, after asking for some other opinions (some people love the summer lessons, some don't - gotta love Facebook for getting feedback!) and talking with Carey, we decided that we wouldn't do the summer lessons and just try to swim with her as much as possible over the summer (and try to work on the skills that she's missing) and then see where she's at by fall.  We might consider a different swimming program, like through the Y or the university, or maybe give it one more try, since we do have a credit with the city.  Regardless of what we do, I want to make sure that it's still enjoyable for Annika, as that's what is most important at this stage.

1 comment:

Gin said...

I'm proud of Annika for putting her face in the water. I still have trouble with that. I love the water, love swimming but don't like getting my face wet.

I think swimming with her during the summer is a great idea. Then it's just fun and not lessons. Maybe we will have to buy that house with the pool.......