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Learn to Swim.... Doll Style

Screaming kids, crying kids, and flailing kids are just some of the types

of swimmers we Swim Instructors encounter on an every day basis.

Sometimes we wonder if we are making any difference at all. Most of

the time our efforts are answered with more screams. However, every

once in a while our labors are rewarded with smiles and pure joy, one of

the goals of us Swim Instructors. That moment when the child gets it,

and he/she realizes... “Hey this is pretty fun.” Watching that happen

makes all the screaming, crying and flailing worthwhile.

One girl that I have been working with for the past several weeks falls

into the aforementioned category. Her story is not only fun, but also

unique, and it involves Belle, and Barbie. It also involves my youngest

swim instructor.

Isla has been swimming with me twice a week throughout the summer.

There have been good days and bad days, however; the vast majority

of those days lean heavily towards the good side. I recently spoke to her

mother about her progress and was surprised to learn that Isla teaches

her dolls how to swim. In fact, Isla has been teaching her dolls to swim

from day one, repeating the lessons that I teach to her, back to her dolls

whenever she is in the bathtub. She sometimes makes them their own

pool out of Tupperware. This came as a surprise to me because for the

first couple of weeks Isla appeared to not enjoy swim lessons. She

never really screamed, but whining was not out of the question. She

would struggle through the lesson, and then go home and begin to

teach her dolls everything she learned at swimming that day. Shortly

after hearing about this, her mother sent me a video and sure enough

belle was working on monkey crawls. Ahhhhh…affirmation that what I

was doing was working. Regardless of how scared she was during the

lesson or how much she cried, my message was hitting home...

Swimming is fun, and swimming lessons are necessary.

Whether it is the mother who is allowing her child to take swim lessons

for the first time or the seasoned instructor who feels bad when her

newest swimmer cries, the take away from this story is the same for any

individual who is around kids in water: we are making a difference! Isla

is a perfect example of how someone who is not entirely comfortable in

the water is getting the message. She is not too young, or incapable.

She knows exactly what is going on, and on some level is eager to

continue to learn. She conquers her fears every day by getting in the

pool and she shows that she understands the importance of her lessons

by the continual coaching she gives in the pool. I am happy to note that


Isla is now back-floating by herself and swimming to the stairs. I am

sure that Barbie is not far behind her. Before long she will be a better

instructor than I (and a better swimmer). Go Isla!!!!


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