Not many elementary schools have swimming skill development programs — or even pools. Jacksonville Country Day School is one exception.
It is important that children learn to swim at an early age. The Jacksonville area is basically surrounded by water and many neighborhoods are rife with pools. Therefore, swimming is an important safety skill. Swimming can be a difficult skill for adults to learn compared to children.
In addition to safety, children gain self-confidence by, for example, progressing out of “floaties.” Swimming also teaches students responsibility and preparedness, as they have to manage their own dressing and swim bags.
At JCDS, the PE coaches also make the learning sessions fun with games like Marco Polo, catch, and using “manipulatives” to improve swimming performance.
For children who already know the basics of swimming, the program adds a layer of physical and skill development. Swimming can be a healthy, low-impact exercise that can be used for one’s entire lifetime. Swimming can also be the basis for other sports such as surfing and water polo.
The Shark Swimming Skills program at JCDS develops confident swimmers. The program is based on the YMCA model and modified to meet the needs of the PE program at JCDS. All PE coaches at JCDS are certified in CPR, First Aid (including AED), and are all Red Cross certified lifeguards.