The Little Splashers program didn't involve much splashing in Hastings on Tuesday, but there was still plenty of fun for the local kids. The program, designed to teach children age three to five years old how to swim, was relocated from the Chemka Pool to the James V. Harmon Community Center due to cloudy weather.
The day started with a circle of approximately 30 children sitting in the main room as water safety instructor Angela Reeve led the story time style event. Reeve, who is also a trainer for Red Cross in metro New York, used books filled with drawings to give the group safety lessons for when they're swimming.
"The Preschool aquatics program has a lot of safety information geared to three, four, five year olds who tend to lack the judgment [in the water]," Reeve said. "They think they're invincible, they think they can swim [better than they actually can]."
Reeve asked the children various questions about water safety and they all shouted out their answers at once. She also demonstrated various swimming techniques as each child around the circle kicked their legs in unison as if they were in the pool.
"It's about water exploration at this age and you don't teach a specific stroke so we teach the children lots of different ways to move their bodies in water that is effective," Reeve said. "Basically exploring their buoyancy and how their bodies move in the water and as they get to be a little bit stronger that becomes stroke development."
The Little Splashers program is similar to a day camp as parents drop off their children for a couple of hours while they learn how to swim, make arts and crafts and also participate in fitness activities. Most of these activities double as a time to help build social skills for the young children, according to Reeve.
The typical class consists of a meet and greet where the kids can interact for a few minutes followed by a 30 minute lesson in the water. That is followed by 15 minutes of fitness outside the pool, a craft activity and a safety lesson led by the instructors. Each class is capped off with a free swim in which each child can get one on one instruction followed by a review of everything learned that day at the end.
"We call it free swim, but that's an opportunity for the six of us [instructors] to get in and go to that child off to the side and say show me what your working on," Reeve said. "A lot of times the results are demonstrated in the free swim when the pressures off."
With a collection of certified lifeguards who have undergone an additional 30 hour Red Cross sanctioned training program, Little Splashers is both fun and safe for children in Hastings. The weekly program runs from 13-17 and again June 20-24. More information on how to sign up can be found on the program's official flyer .
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