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Virginia Hunt Newman International Award

2010 Daniel Zylberberg, Ph.D.


Daniel Zylberberg is a clinical psychologist in Paris, France. He works with children in a psychiatric hospital and teaches infant psychology at the Medical University of Paris XIII.


In the early 1980's he established an experimental babies swimming program using his training as a clinical psychologist.  France had few such programs and awareness of their benefits.  He conducted research focused on observing the natural and spontaneous behaviors in infants while participating in an aquatic classroom environment. With friends, doctors, teachers and students, programs were established at additional aquatic centers and were well received.


Zylberberg has been a leader in educating teachers and program directors as they establish and operate infant aquatic programs. In 1974 he was a leader in the founding of the French FAAEL (Awakening and Leisure Aquatic Federation). Today there are over 1000 aquatic centers throughout France with baby programs and many times more certified baby swimming teachers.  Daniel was the French delegate and a lecturer at the 2nd World Aquatic Babies Congress (WABC) in Los Angeles in 1993 speaking on integrating babies with disabilities into aquatic programs.  He spoke at the 3rd WABC in Melbourne (1995) on making curriculum more physically active and enriching as well as the 4th Congress in Oaxaca, Mexico (1997) on the researched benefits of babies being active in the unique environment water provides.


Zylberberg was the moderator and lead organizer of the 5th WABC Conference in Toulouse, France (1999)

- attended by over 500 professionals from 27 countries. He has consulted on teacher training programs in Italy with the WISP, in Spain with the SEAE, and in Argentina with FAEP - all national swim teacher education

organizations.  He has lectured in Norway, Finland and Germany.


Daniel is the author of numerous books and articles. "The Babies in the Pool" (title translated in English) has been translated also into Japanese and "The Ages of Swimming" (translation) is published in French and Italian.  He has been seen on numerous French television programs featuring swimming babies. Since 2008, Zylberberg has served as expert advisor to the French Swimming Federation's special commission on baby and children learn to swim programs.


He has been inspired by Dr. Maria Montessori's learning philosophies and theories including the importance of teachers and parents working to shape the learning environment and help the baby or child do things for themselves. Daniel's approach encourages spontaneous behavior and positive interaction between babies, young children and their parents.

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