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YMCA Teaches Second Graders Safety Around Water
December 7, 2023 – Cash Elementary School second graders just finished two weeks of potentially life-changing swimming lessons with the help of the Kernersville Family YMCA and their Safety Around Water program.
Safety Around Water is an introductory swimming course that gets students in a pool and allows them to get used to being in a body of water while also learning how to be safe and responsible in that environment. Over the course of eight sessions, second graders learn the basics of keeping themselves afloat, strategies for lifting themselves out of water if they accidentally fall in, and what they can do to help if they see someone in trouble in the water. For a student who isn’t accustomed to swimming or being around water, the program could make a world of difference if they ever find themselves in an aquatic emergency.
“By helping make sure that these kids know how to swim, hopefully we’re saving lives,” said Kernersville Family YMCA Board Chairman Rishado Robinson.
The Kernersville Family YMCA has collaborated with classes throughout Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in the past, and this year, they’ve reached out to elementary schools in their neighborhood including Cash, Sedge Garden, South Fork, Kimmel Farm, and the Downtown School to name a few. The only difference with this year’s program for Cash is that students had their eight sessions over the course of two weeks instead of four, and that seemed to have an even stronger impact on improving student confidence around the water.
“When it’s consistent like this for two weeks, I think it makes a difference in how much they’re able to retain,” said Executive Director of Youth Development Chris Chunn.
For some WS/FCS students, Safety Around Water is the first time in their lives that they’ve been able to spend time in a body of water. Getting this practice with swimming is not only helpful for keeping them safe, but also for giving them more faith in their own abilities. When they find themselves at the ocean, the lake, the swimming pool, or anywhere else with deep water later in life, they’ll be able to enjoy themselves knowing that if anything goes wrong, they’ll be prepared.
“Some of these kids have never been in a pool before,” said Cash Elementary Teacher Becky Light. “Now, they don’t have to be afraid of the water.”
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