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Awarded Grant Summaries

SOS (Sink or Swim) Developing Healthy Water Behavior and Attitudes

Barb Leu, Crystal Halvorsen & Sandi Seckel, Teachers, West Park Elementary

2016-2017 School Year

Description & Need:

Being a school that serves children of poverty, many of our students do not have the opportunity to receive either private or group lessons for swimming and water safety.  Learning to swim is a life skill; one that supports healthy physical activity, but also enhances a child's safety as they are around water and engaged in water activities.  All students can be involved in swimming regardless of their ability level.

Students would receive 4 days of swimming instruction in a small group setting at the new YMCA.  Students would be organized into the small groups based upon an initial informal assessment done at the YMCA by trained staff.  Students would travel tot eh YMCA on a YMCA bus directly after school dismissal.  The lessons would be taught by trained instructors, but would be supervised by the physical education teacher at West Park.

An informational packet would go home with each student and parents would be asked to give written permission for their child to participate in this worthwhile project.  If a student does not have a swimsuit, the NSEA Children's Fund would be accessed to purchase suits for those students.  A request could also be made of the PTO at West Park.

Major Objectives:

  1. To improve student skill in swimming and water safety.
  2. To decrease student apprehension in participating in water activities.
  3. To introduce students to a physical activity that can continue to support life-long health.
  4. To expose students to the availability of swimming lessons in our community in the hope that some will continue with their family's support.
  5. To promote the use of the new YMCA and to orient students to the opportunities that are available to them at this new facility.

Grades Impacted:

Second grade students at West Park during the 2016-2017 school year will be involved in this project.  Projected enrollment shows that 50 students will benefit from the planned swimming lessons. In speaking with the YMCA staff, second grade is the most opportune time to make a final effort to teach a child to swim. Developmentally, their upper body strength will support their success in the water and they are cognitively able to understand the importance of learning to swim.