The Gentle Method -> Why Gentle
As teachers and parents, we are constantly faced with choices on how we teach and parent. Some decisions are small, everyday choices; other decisions are larger and more philosophical.
Choosing how you teach a child about water, swimming and safety is one of the later…a choice that adds to and reflects a growing teaching or parenting style, how you view your role as a teacher or parent and how you view childhood, learning, development and growth.
Our intent…gentle, playful, happy and teaching at the child’s pace, just makes sense when dealing with babies, toddlers and tykes who are in the formative years of personality development. It’s a sane, aware, rational and pro-active approach that follows accepted educational science and philosophy for this age group and cutting edge brain development and research.
Serenity Swim Network (SSN), under the leadership of Rob and Kathy McKay, offers parents, teachers and program developers a holistic view of teaching, parenting and child development. We offer a positive outlook on water and aquatic education—we respect water as a beautiful, fluid natural element, a facilitator of learning, a pleasurable medium to be in and play with your child, an element to be respected, not feared. We have parents actively involved in the water with the child as co-teacher…just as naturally as at home. Class is in a group setting, so we can all peer-learn, emulate, share and celebrate together. Toys, games and songs help children learn on multiple levels and enhance the experience.
We view learning water safety as a growing, sequential group of skills earned from a comfortable, relaxed, solid foundation toward competency and proficiency. And just like baby proofing dangerous areas in the house, or preventing your child from running into the street, we view the role of the responsible parent as providing a comprehensive and layered water safety plan.
During the learning process, we see the young child as a human being…body, mind, spirit, emotions…who is to be treated not with dominance or intimidation, but with respect and awareness. We do not “pamper , but we do nurture the developing being by planning programs that are age and developmentally appropriate and involve play, fun and joy. We are not going to put the “ cart before the horse” and offer too much, too soon, too often…but rather watch for signs of readiness and offer skills as the child is relaxed and ready to learn. Parents and teachers are “in the moment” with the child, involved in the process and celebrating exactly where they are… each small goal along the way. Achieving the skill or the result is never more important than the whole child.
The difference in aquatic programs for the very young is dramatic. We have always offered the most natural, playful, positive, and tear-free introduction to swimming. We have continually evolved the program over 33 years honing it to create a child-friendly, family-friendly, learning-friendly environment. We hope you’ll join us in the very special community we have established.