One Step At A Time

Cheryl Gigliotti

We have all been there, watching our kids in an activity and wondering when they are going to attain that next skill. For some, it is the simple task of enjoying the activity while for others it can be perfecting a task they have been working on. The bottom line is that all parents want to see their kids make progress and at the Jim Montgomery Swim School we have your back.

“Why has my child not achieved this skill?” or “When do you think they will pass their current level?” are both questions we hear often at JMSS. There is no definitive answer to either of these questions because every child is unique. Our child-centered approach allows children to advance at their own pace while learning to love the water. We do not believe in any fear based techniques when it comes to teaching kids how to swim. Children’s developmental age, previous experiences, personality and time spent in the water outside of lessons all contribute to their advancement pace.

Some things to remember when watching your kids in their weekly swim lessons. Learning to swim is a process and not an event. It takes time, sometimes lots of it, to fully trust the water, and to perfect some skills. Every week your kids come to lessons they may not master a new skill but they are reinforcing what they have already learned and retaining all of that hard work they have put in during previous lessons. Recently, I had my two and five year old kids out of lessons for three months due to a busy schedule and only two weeks ago did they start back in lessons. I saw quickly how each had lost several skills and were not as confident as they used to be in certain areas of swimming. Keeping kids in their weekly lesson enables them to practice, learn and explore all while in a safe environment. They may not get a ribbon each week and some levels may take longer than others but that is completely normal. Our levels were created to cover all of the basics, mechanics and water safety skills we could fit into a thirty-minute lesson. Some kids may struggle with floating on their back while another seems to have trouble with rolling over. This is also normal as each kid learns differently and at their own pace.

How does a child get a skill checked off? This question is very important and we love to answer it! We have a list of skills that must be mastered at each level of our group lessons. We call these “advancement standards”. For a student to attain a skill, we are looking for it to be performed independently, comfortably and confidently. In our Kids Swim levels, we require them to demonstrate the skill at least three times. For our developmental group lessons, we have tasks they must demonstrate confidently to advance.  

When a student attains a new skill, the deck supervisor is in charge of marking it as completed. Parents will then receive an email notification that this skill has been checked off. Any questions on students progress can be directed to our deck supervisor in between classes or a site supervisor as well. Parents can check students progress through the parent portal as well. To see a full list of our advancement standards, go HERE. They are also displayed in our viewing room.

Our instructors are dedicated to teaching and helping our students make progress one step at a time. We are committed to teaching the best lessons for all ages, helping students achieve their goals and reaching out in the Dallas area to spread the word about the importance of water safety.