La Petite Baleen began in the backyard pool of John Kolbisen and Irene Madrid’s Half Moon Bay home in 1979. As public school teachers, they were looking for a creative outlet for their love of children and the water. With three young children of their own and several local families, they developed an in-depth curriculum and ribbon level system for their “aquatic classroom”. John and Irene’s developmental aquatic program emphasizes a balance between love and discipline, thus teaching not only swimming, but also self-esteem and coping skills.
Learning life skills through swimming is our philosophy at La Petite Baleen. Through progress reports, phone conferences, newsletters and our knowledgeable staff, we educate and inform parents as an important part of our teaching team. We believe that aquatic child development extends beyond our swimming pools and into the heart of our families’ homes. In addition to physical swimming skills, our students learn emotional skills such as:
- Listening to and following directions
- Social interaction and teamwork
- Respect for oneself and others
- Overcoming obstacles and facing fears
Learning to swim is hard work, albeit fun, and requires much effort. How much a child enjoys this work and how rapidly they progresses depends greatly on the attitude of the parent(s). It is not only rewarding, but also contagious when children master goals in the swimming pool (and in life!). By working as a team with our parents and swimmers, our staff takes great pride in guiding children through the peaks and valleys of swim class.