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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bigger kids also are learning water-survival skills.

Since 1979, county schools have offered drownproofing classes to fifth-graders
Steve Barry, coordinator of outdoor and environmental education for county public schools, said the program takes the term "drownproofing" from an old Navy survival swimming program. More aptly, it would be named water-safety instruction, Barry said.

The course is taught over a four-day period at the Arundel Olympic Swim Center on Riva Road in Annapolis. This year, 74 out of 78 county elementary schools participated, and some private schools have joined in as well.

The course teaches safety both in and near the water, Barry said. Instruction includes personal safety skills to help get out of danger, the use of personal-flotation devices, non-swimming rescues and cold-water survival.

The classes are optional and are taught by one resource teacher and six part-time hourly employees, all water-safety instructors. About 5,500 students take part in the program each year. There are no grades given in the class, but at the end each student takes home an evaluation of their skills to share with his or her parents, Barry said.

"It's safe to say there's running water within 15 minutes of any home in Anne Arundel County," he said. "They're all near the water."

There is some concern that not offering the class until fifth grade, when children are about 10 years old, is waiting too long, Barry said. But kids need to be about 4 feet tall to touch the bottom of the shallow end of the pool, which is particularly important for non-swimmers, Barry said. In some of the county's more urban schools, up to 85 percent of the class may be non-swimmers.

"Those same schools may only be a block or two from the water," he said.

Recently, a group from Germantown Elementary School in Annapolis took the class. Out of the 20 students, only four tried out to be deep-water swimmers. In 13 feet of water, the students practiced treading water while their shallow-end counterparts practiced putting their faces into the water and blowing bubbles.

The swimming classes are paired with classroom lessons that go with the fifth-grade language arts curriculum, said Cathy Bellarin, a teaching specialist with the program. Classroom instruction includes reading selections with hypothetical scenarios that students have to analyze and write reactions to.

The classes at the swim center use real-life scenarios to make the points hit home. In one, the swimmer didn't put on a life jacket, then "fell overboard." Students learn about hypothermia, and try swimming with their clothes on. They also learn to convert their shirts into flotation devices. "The beauty is, the kids know it was difficult, and they really think about (wearing a) life jacket," she said.

Hope All the Little, Medium age & senior Kids on here Read This --geo
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
---103 were intrested, enough to read how to drown proof thier kids --SAD
 

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Good Info

George,
Good info. My Grandson took it. I'm glad he did. He learn alot and shared it with me.
He was very enthusiastic about it.
 

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I agree by fifth grade the kids have already been around the water a long time. I have a six year old that has been on the water since she was two and my youngest who is now 2 and has been on the water for almost a year. They both wear life jackets at all times when on piers or boats. Do they offer anything for the younger kids other than swimming lessons?
 

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Capt...The program is great. My daughter went through it in January or so...I volunteered for most of the days. I think many of us could use the course now as adults. She goes to Bodkin Elem. nestled between the Bodkin and Magothy...needless to say most of the kids in the area are fortunate enough to spend a lot of time at pools and on the water....so most of the kids swim like fish...all of them learned new stuff making them much safer.

The sad part is that with other schools many of the schools have widley varring demographics and environments...some are down right sad with children with very odd and difficult up bringings and surroundings...and some just no where near the water.

In those situations most of the kids are getting in the water for the first time in their lives.

My wife, a county art teacher, always tries to expose her kids to bay stuff...crabs...fish..catching them...you name it. It always makes me wonder if the board of education is missing a big oppurtunity to exopse kids to all of water and wildlife assets we have in our area. The Arlington Echo program seems to be a great start to it.

EDIT...Forgot to add. I brought up the same issue to my wife about the age's and wondering why they don't start earlier. It usually comes down to a maturety level...The bigest/most difficult thing about the county program is the kids handling the locker room.
 
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