Following the melt-down, I got in the water with him. It was important to me that he get back into the pool and continue participating. I had cleared this with the instructors pre-class because I had an idea this might happen, but they only gave me a pass to do this for the first class, and I am not allowed back in the water for any other classes, though I am allowed to sit on the side of the pool.
So, what's the solution? I feel like swimming lessons are not just activity -they are important life skills. He has to know how to save himself if he falls into the water; plus, I don't want him to think that he can quit. However, I don't want to traumatize him. He has agreed to go back to class today as long as I am with him, but I have told him that I will be sitting on the side of the pool and not in the water. We agreed that he could come over and touch me anytime he needed more "braveness" (his word).