by Christina Hilgen
With the end of the school year drawing to a close, I find myself looking forward to the relaxed days ahead where I’m not scrambling to get the kids to bed at night or rushing through our bedtime routines just to repeat it all again the next day. Mornings of enjoying a hot cup of coffee that hasn’t been reheated are fast approaching.
We don’t do summer camp because I work from home, and quite honestly my kids would dread it. They enjoy playing outside, going to the park, having lemonade stands and play dates. The only activity that has become a regular for them are swim lessons.
Before last summer my children were not afraid of the water, as we had a pool at our residence and spent much of our two summers hanging out there, but they also couldn’t swim.
My oldest, 11 at the time, could do the basic front stroke, but struggled with taking breaths. He was eager to learn, but also has an anxiety disorder that gets in the way when trying something new.
My eldest daughter is petite, so at nine years of age she was still struggling to touch the bottom of the pool at a depth of only four feet. This made her very scared to even want to try to learn because when she got tired she couldn’t just stop and take a breath by putting her feet down.
The youngest, six-years-old, had finally learned to be comfortable putting her face in the water, but that was the extent of her knowledge. All of this made taking my kids to the beach or an outdoor pool feel overwhelming. How was I supposed to keep an eye on three children? Needless to say, we stuck to inviting friends over to our quaint, barely six foot deep pool.
Last summer, one of the moms at our children’s school started a Montessori swim program that did wonders for my children. When she reached out and mentioned wanting to start a swimming program for the school community I couldn’t have been more excited. It would be a chance for my children to not only learn to swim, but also help them bond with other classmates and learn how to be safe in and near the water. It also gave me the opportunity to have an adult conversation with other parents or make use of the pool as well. It was a win win for everyone!
On top of the regular swim classes, we had the opportunity to stay for an open play time. This gave my children extra time to hang out with their friends and maybe meet some new ones. There are also classes for the parents and caregivers to educate on water safety, and my oldest was able to take a Junior life guarding class. Having my children learn how to swim and be safe, plus gaining the opportunity to learn water safety myself, is like nothing else out there I have ever seen.
For more information about the S3 Montessori Aquatics program or for assistance with registering please contact Nicole Scherbarth at firstname.lastname@example.org
Christina Hilgen was born and raised in Chicago, IL and is the product of the Montessori method. She attended Montessori school from the age of 22 months through the eighth grade. In the summer of 1996, Christina toured a Montessori school that was hiring and felt as if she had returned home. She completed the American Montessori Internationale (AMI) primary training in 2000 and in 2008 developed a Montessori Toddler program for an already established AMI Montessori preschool. It was here that she discovered her true passion, helping the parents of her students establish a Montessori space within their home. After over 10 years of working at some of the best Montessori schools in the country, she decided to open her own business, Montessori In Your Home. Christina is able to work with families both one on one and through workshops to help establish a system of organization and routines which allow children to become more independent.
Christina currently resides in Michigan with her husband and three children ages 11, 9 and 6. Her love of all things Montessori continues to grow and thrive in all that she does. You can follow her Montessori journey on her blog and learn more about her services on Facebook.