Young Children Learning How to Swim at WHS Through Frederick County Parks and Rec Lessons
by Christina Huffer
Starting on March 25th, 27th, and 30th, swim lessons will be taught through Frederick County Parks and Rec. This amazing program has been running for four years now with multiple instructors and aides. With about five to eight swimmers and two to three teachers per class, each person taking the class receives plenty of individual instruction.
“We offer lessons on Mondays. Thursdays, and Saturdays. So there are different times that people can sign up. We have a mommy and me/parent and child class for parents and children under the age of three. We also have some aqua fitness classes for adults over the age of 16. We have lessons for preschool, three-five years of age, and all the level classes from beginner to intermediate and some more advanced classes. The classes are usually filled with a waiting list,” commented Swimming Pool Operator Supervisor Beth Slagle.
The different levels allow all age groups to join; no matter your age you can be in any class according to your ability.
“The American Red Cross has a tried and true schedule of classes that we begin with parent and child discovery. Which basically is the parent gets in with the child and works with them to introduce them to the water. The preschool classes are for younger children; it’s again an introduction to the water and just a time for them to get comfortable in the water it is not a time for the kid to learn how to swim.
As you gradually move up the lesson ladder we have learn to swim lesson 1 which is your basic beginner class. It’s a introduction to the water and they will learn about bobbing, floating, and putting their head under water. Once they can get through the skills with that they will gradually work into lesson two. They add different skills each class so that by the time they get to lesson two they are able to bob, they are able to float on their front and back and switch and back and forth, they are comfortable in the water, and they don’t necessarily have to be held. They can stand on the side and swim a few strokes and then when we move into level that is when the child is deep water safe. They can be in the deep water, tread water and swim short distances. From there is level four, where you start improving your stroke, working more on technique and work on your endurance and your confidence,” said Slegal.
All of the instructors must have a certain amount of training. They take a class that gives them the certification to allow them to be able to teach the kids and adults. The instructors are always happy towards the kids, entertaining them as much as possible and keeping them busy.
“Being a water safety instructor is pretty fulfilling. It’s nice to know that you’re having somewhat of a positive impact on the individuals that are taking these lessons. I’m teaching them something that they are going to use throughout their lives. But it can be somewhat difficult when dealing with someone who doesn’t want to swim, or someone that ‘thinks’ they know how to swim,” said Water Safety Instructor Trevor Brown.
The aides that work with the kids are the ones that spend the most time with them. They stand with the pre-school level kids and talk to them, get to know them and play games. Some of the games they play are Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, and Marco Polo. The little kids enjoy Simon Says and the older kids like Red Light Green Light.
“I like being an aide because I like helping other people learn to swim. It’s a good experience and I made so many new friends, my coworkers are so great and really helped me become comfortable with the kids. I love the kids; they’re so fun and energetic, It’s just an all around wonderful environment,” said Swimming Instructor Aide Addison Robert.