A LIFE SKILL FOR STAYING SAFE IN WATER
Every child grows up next to water and has contact with water.
- In primary school, children must understand the dangers of water and how they can stay safe near water, that is, enjoy water activities.
- The question necessarily arises – how ready children currently are for the challenges of recreation and water sports – be it in the pool, river, lake or sea.
We must explain to children what needs to be done in the following situations:
- falling into the water
- falling out of a boat,
- swimming in clothes,
- fatigue due to excessive stay in the water,
- cramps or some type of injury,
- distraction due to the presence of large weeds or underwater hazards, rough waters or tides.
- The right reaction can save a life. Along with properly reacting in emergency situations, it is also important to follow basic safety rules, which include proper equipment, and adherence to rules related to water depth, appropriate water temperature, and other factors that may affect it.
- Also, it is important to be aware of your abilities and limitations and not to overdo activities in the water.
- For these reasons, it is important to organise, control and monitor the training of children in order to develop these skills. For this purpose, we will use our capacities (Sports Centre Crnjanski) to learn together the skill of swimming and reduce fear to a rational level, as well as to develop a thoughtful level of caution that should always be present when in the water, regardless of the swimming skills.
- During training, we will also work on teaching children to provide adequate assistance – First Aid. Those who use bodies of water, including swimmers, must be trained in first aid in the event of accidents in the water.
Accordingly, the GOAL of the upcoming programme is reflected not only in training students of the youngest age to acquire and improve swimming techniques, but also in the acquiring of measures and procedures that will enable them to stay safe in the water.
The swimming training programme is based on an approach that instils in the child the confidence and feeling of safety in the water.
The applied techniques use natural forms of movement, which allows the child to stay on the surface of water with minimal use of energy.
The main intention is to provide each child with diverse movements in order to develop the skill of agility and freedom of movement in the water. This modern way of training contributes to the child acquiring the basic elements necessary for all swimming techniques, mastering the technique of breathing, the technique of using arms and legs, connecting the mentioned elements into a whole, in order to move in the desired direction and be safe in the water.
Being able to swim is one of the skills necessary to ensure the safety of each individual in situations when they are in the water or when they need to overcome various obstacles, without any aids at their disposal.
The programme is divided into several thematic units:
- Adaptation and treading on the water surface;
- Basics of swimming;
- Improving swimming technique and
- First aid and self-rescue techniques;
The planned number of swimming lessons is 108. The programme is carried out during the calendar and school year. The curriculum provides 3 lessons per week for this purpose. The programme will be implemented in Crnjanski Sports Centre in Jagodina, which contains all the necessary conditions for monitoring water quality and swimmers’ safety.
In addition to regular PE classes, the offer also includes ‘AFTERNOON PROGRAMME A, B, C.’
Within the FIRST UNIT, the emphasis is on developing a sense of being in the water as the basis for acquiring kinaesthetic experience, which is a prerequisite for further acquisition and development of swimming skills. A detailed scheme of the planned contents for the realisation of this unit is given in Table 1.
At the end of this unit, a practical test of acquired skills will be organised. In order for this unit to be considered successfully completed, it is necessary to pass the test consisting of the following elements:
- independent jump in water feet first, followed by emerging from water;
- taking a horizontal position on the back;
turning in water and taking a horizontal position on the stomach;
- retaking the horizontal position on the back;
- correcting the direction and performing backstroke using legs, where it is necessary to cover a distance from 13m to 25m;
- independent exit from the pool after the distance covered, while respecting the rules of safety in water.
- The child’s progress is monitored continuously after each training lesson, whereby a record is kept for each child in the form of an assessment scale of the degree of achievement of the planned outcomes for a specific lesson. The assessment scale is available for parents to see within the child’s online portfolio, which will be kept for each child individually.
- In the second and third unit, the aim is for the child to acquire basic swimming techniques, improve their fitness and self-confidence. Emphasis is put on the acquiring of different swimming styles, proper breathing and swimming with and without the use of props and swimming aids. An overview of the planned contents is given in Table 2, while the expectations regarding the movements of the mentioned swimming styles are presented in detail below.
The front crawl style
Crawl style is a modern technique and is considered the fastest style of swimming.
In order to acquire the crawl style swimming technique, the child should acquire a precisely determined sequence of movements, which involves taking the initial horizontal lying position on the water. The arm, then, enters the water at an angle of 45° or at two-thirds of the length of the arm, with springing to reach. The fist is then moved backwards so that the elbow with the shoulder moves upwards. The stroke is performed with torso rotation it the moment when the elbows are at their highest points. At the end of the stroke when the elbow is high up, breathing is done by rotating the neck to the left or to the right, depending on which arm is raised up, with a slight rotation of the upper body.
The work of the lower limbs in crawl style also takes place alternately, and on two hand strokes the legwork can be: two-stroke, four-stroke and six-stroke (depending on the speed of swimming). The feet are extended and turned slightly inwards (hallux to hallux), while the kicks come from the hips, with the knees slightly bent.
Breaststroke technique requires perfect timing and coordination, hydrodynamics and appropriate use of strength.
When performing this technique, the child should acquire the following sequence of movements: taking the initial horizontal position on the stomach, spreading the arms to the side slightly narrower than the width of the shoulders, raising the elbows. Then, it is important to pull the arms until they are in line with the shoulders, after which elbows are pulled to the area in front of the chin. The arms continue to stretch forward, the head is positioned between the arms, while the legs begin propulsion by raising the hips and turning the feet to the outside. The toes should be pulled upwards. The next step is a strong kick with the legs, until the moment of springing and joining the feet.
Backstroke is a style of swimming where you swim on your back, using your arms and legs to perform crawl-like movements. In the backstroke, the child should assume a horizontal position on the back, enter the water while holding arms together and perform a slight rotation, so that the little finger enters the water first. One arm grabs the water, while the opposite arm moves parallelly through the air in the direction of movement. The elbow and shoulder are aligned, while the hand guides the stroke. Legwork is performed from the hips, which also perform rotation. The knees do not come out of the water. The leg is fully extended with the thigh facing upwards, while the foot is extended and the toes are facing inwards. After the previously described preparatory leg work position, the lower leg is strongly stretched in the upward and downward direction. That final movement propels the body forward.
Butterfly swimming style involves swimming on the stomach with specific arm and leg movements. The start of the stroke is the same as in breaststroke. Therefore, the child should acquire the following sequence of movements: the hands move down, back and to the side. The first kick is done when the head is down. It is then necessary to rotate the hand and turn the little finger towards the bottom. The distance between the hands under the body should be approximately 10 cm. At the end of the stroke, a second kick is performed while simultaneously inhaling. In the last third of the stroke, the arms move back and to the side, in order to continue the movement in the return part. Through the air, the arms are brought to a shoulder-width apart position, the hands are rotated so that the thumb enters the water first.
All four described swimming techniques are constantly improved and perfected, and today they are considered the basics of competitive swimming, which is why they are the basis of the programme.
The contents of the FOURTH UNIT refer to the additional education of the child about possible dangers that can occur on, in and around water and ways to act properly when faced with them. In addition to the previously mentioned content on water safety, in this unit the emphasis is on training the child to provide first aid, in situations where it does not jeopardise child’s own safety, and the application of self-rescue measures and procedures. It emphasises and demonstrates how to react in emergency situations and how to act in situations of convulsions, drowning, loss of consciousness, cuts, bleeding and falls that can cause injuries of the spinal column. An overview of the planned contents is given in Table 3.
Monitoring and evaluating progress
In order to successfully acquire the basic techniques of swimming and achieve progress in fitness and self-confidence, it is necessary to monitor and evaluate the progress of participants in swimming training. Progress monitoring allows to assess how well participants have mastered swimming techniques and developed awareness of the safe use of bodies of water. Evaluation provides insight into how much trainees have improved over time.
Swimming skill test
The practical test for all four swimming techniques consists of two levels. The first level implies acquiring the technique, while the second level implies mastering the technique. In order for the child to meet the standards for each level, he/she must complete the following tasks for each technique separately.
- Acquiring the basic technique
After getting in the water, the participant performs the assigned technique technically correctly and consistently, during which he/she should cover a distance from 25m to 50m. The elements that a child should demonstrate when performing each swimming technique are:
» body position;
» strokes using arms and legs;
» inhaling and exhaling that is synchronised with the strokes.
- Mastering of techniques
From the starting block, the participant must perform a jump into the water, complete an appropriate underwater stroke, after which he/she emerges and begins to perform the given technique technically correctly and consistently. The child must cover a distance from 100m to 200m and with each turn, depending on the swimming style, perform the appropriate turn technique. The elements that a child must demonstrate when performing each swimming technique are:
» body position;
» strokes using arms and legs;
» inhaling and exhaling synchronously with the strokes
Practical self-rescue test in water with clothes: A child, lightly dressed, (t-shirt and shorts) jumps into the water on cue. He/she has the task of taking off his/her shoes in the water, then swim a distance of 12m and get out of the pool safely on his/her own.
Giving first aid and safe use of bodies of water
It consists of two parts. The first part represents the knowledge of the basics of first aid, while the second part refers to the knowledge of the basic rules for using swimming pools and other bodies of water.
The practical assessment consists of applying first aid in various improvised scenarios.
These aim to assess child’s individual progress and provide additional feedback, which contributes to the development of swimming skills. The level of training that the child acquires after completing the programme is given in Table 3.