The saftey-aids are great for peace of mind but I also think it kind of gives children a false sense of security around water.
So when I started my volunteering at the pool a month ago I 'forgot' to take his vest with me.
I also decided that I wasn't going to actively teach him to swim until he asked or initiated it.
Well the first week he pretty much played on the steps of the pool.
Second week he was standing in water up to his chin and splashing about but still not putting his face under the water.
Last week he was splashing about, when another little boy probably a year older than Mr T swam up to him. I was sitting in the kiosk watching him watch the other boy. He was looking really intently like he wanted to know how to do all these tricks and then all of a sudden he ducked right under the water.
Over the next two hours he went from not swimming to being able to hold his breath and swim about two meters under water!
It was such an awesome lesson for me to really see how children will learn by themselves when they are ready to learn. They will learn because they want to have that skill or piece of information. They don't need us to tell them what and when to learn something.
Since then you just can't keep him out of the water...
or a canoe for that matter...