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Summer Swim Lessons – Montessori Style

Summer Swim Lessons – Montessori Style

Summer Swim Lessons Montessori Style

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!



The mission of  the S3 Aquatics program gives my children the opportunity to learn how to swim at their own level while offering them opportunities to teach their peers (just like in the classroom) all while giving them time to hang out with their friends. They have never been pressured into doing something they are not ready or comfortable doing, something we have experienced in other swim programs.



At the start of each lesson, the children were gathered and they discussed real life safety scenarios. Then they got to experience what they discussed in the water. Watching your six-year-old learn how to save a child bigger than her? Priceless!

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 nicole@rawtherapyllc.com

S3 Montessori Aquatics program

One Comment

  1. added on 28 Nov, 2018

    hello, I can relate to you experience, my 6 years old son had big troubles putting his face in the water as well. Also, he only managed to learn how to swim in a pool where he could touch the bottom, which made him feel safe. Here’s the story of our struggles, and how perseverance and understanding a child’s fears finally paid off.

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