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Prevent Children from Drowning by Teaching Them to Swim!

Anne Matyko,   Pittsburgh Allegheny Elem Sch
Physical Activity Participation
Pittsburgh Allegheny has a 4 lane/25 meter swimming pool. I feel that it is important to teach children how to swim and be safe in the deep water to prevent them from drowning. I teach basic swimming skills throughout the school year and school day to help achieve this goal. Some of our students may not have the opportunity to take basic swimming lessons. Throughout the past year, 93 students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade have passed their deep water test. I would like to continue this program and teach children how to have fun and enjoy the water while being safe there. Swimming is a lifetime skill that is necessary and a safety issue.

How did you accomplish your goals?

I accomplished these goals by teaching basic swimming skills, including how put your face in the water, floating, flutter kicking, kicking and sculling on your back, arm stroke (freestyle) and treading water. When a student has mastered these skills in the shallow, I put them in the deep water with a life jacket on to help them learn how to swim in the deep water. Once I feel they are confident and secure, they start working in the deep water without the life jacket.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

The challenges I have are when the pool breaks down and we have to adjust the schedule. Getting parents to realize the importance of learning how to swim can be challenging but I send a parent letter home explaining the routines and procedures in the pool and getting them to sign a permission form. Sometimes I have to share the pool with the Middle School. Even though the Middle School and the Elementary School are two separate entities, we have to share the gym and the pool with Middle School.

How did students and adults work together as a team?

All of the staff work together as a team and believe in the same goal, which is teaching children how to swim. The staff at Pittsburgh Allegheny always adjust the schedule, if need be, to help achieve the goal of getting children deep water safe. The staff here are Pittsburgh is wonderful and are great to work with. My principal believes in the vision and goal of teaching children how to swim and supports the swim program.