Swimming Ideas Podast

SIP 054: Merging preschool teaching with swim lessons - An interview with Jennifer Butler

March 27, 2017

Jennifer Butler of Roots Aquatics is awesome. She is an experienced preschool teacher, swimming veteran and expert swim instructor. Jenn is the Aquatic Coordinator at Roots Aquatics and Fitness Center where she trains lifeguards and swim instructors, teaches lessons, does the schedule, and writes a staff only blog. This summer she'll be running the camp swim lessons for  all three Roots locations.


Jennifer has taught swim lessons for 11 years and has had a lifetime of aquatic experience; swimming in middle schoo, high school, and college. She taught preschool for 7 years, and began her swim instruction at the YMCA where she blended American Red Cross and YMCA lessons into one.

In this podcast we go in depth into the Roots Aquatics program and discuss things that Jenn and her staff do to engage their students.

There are some wonderful moments that I want you to be aware of:

Otter Toddler Class: New  class for Roots where they start by themselves at 2 1/2 if a teacher recommends them into the class. This fills a gap in their levels and lessons. The class is for kids that move on their own, or with floatation devices and have outgrown their  "mom and tot" class, but aren't quite ready for the group lessons.

@ 13:30 Free Swim Lesson: 3 month to 6 month. This is a brilliant idea that might be the next big thing in swimming lessons. Much like the current online website formula Jenn and Roots Aquatics are offering a free class that they hope will serve as a hook for their classes. It is limited in scope (3m - 6m) and when it is done well, the parents and kids will be motivated to stay with their program for the rest of their swimming career. In this class they read a book to the kids, and do an activity with each line in the book. One example is reading a  book about a pig that is painting. They get a paintbrush and "paint" the kid's with the paint brushes in the water. Gives an activity that allows interaction and a doorway to going underwater and floating.

Kiefer Noodle Rockets: http:/amzn.to/2mY9yyo

Pat the Dog activity to teach sculling and the beginnings of backstroke and breaststroke. uSwim, level 3, skill 3 - how to teach pat the dog or back kicking, swimming lessons

Foam Puzzle Shapes: Not exact, but close: http://amzn.to/2nwpoBD
Maybe this http://amzn.to/2nACUkz

Hiring and Training:

Jenn employs the "shadowing" or apprenticeship mode of training where new hires will get in the water with a veteran instruction and learn how to teach in the classes. After about 40 hours of training, they gradually move into doing single skills under the guidance of the veteran instructor.


Brilliant Book Games:

At [time] Jenn goes into detail about some games that they play with books for their beginning level classes.


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