Lip numbers: Children learn safety in the water

A five-day swimming course for primary school students of all four years was very popular in Lippetal.

Lip number (gl) – Waves are reflected on the ceiling of the teaching pool. The water spills over the edge of the pool, where Kjell, Liam, Pit and Lukes are all smiling as they throw balls out of a basket. You have about 40 minutes of intensive swimming lessons behind you. Now they can play something to finish.

Train what you’ve learned automatically

“Thereby they automatically practice what they have just learned,” says water teacher Elke Gasse from “Unsere Kleine Schwimmschule” in Lippetal. Together with swimming master Dr. During the last holiday weekend, Anja Birkefeld gave a five-day intensive course for primary school children in all four grade levels. 64 of them participated in the offer in Lippetal in groups of up to eight children, which was planned in collaboration with the three primary schools.

On Friday the first child jumped into the water, on Tuesday some had reached seahorse level. “It is a project from the state funding pool ‘Arrival and catch-up after Corona’ – 65 places were free,” says Stephanie Grabenschröer, head of the school authority.

School swimming lessons could only take place to a limited extent during the pandemic, and the pool was sometimes not allowed to be used at all. Swimming master Birkefeld then offered 15 regular courses for a total of 75 children – they were booked up immediately. “The demand is huge,” continues Grabenschröer. “The sponsored intensive course is also well received by the parents. The training is specially adapted to the children’s needs.”

Competence in three levels

In order to determine the same, the swimming teachers from the respective primary school assigned the children to a competence scheme at three levels. The schools then invited the parents to participate. “The parents take their time, bring their child to the toilet in five days,” says Cornelia Düring, manager of St. Stephanus elementary school in Oestinghausen, about the acceptance of the course. And her colleague Susanne Kresing from Ludgerusskolen in Lippborg adds: “Due to the continuous training every day, the course is very effective.”

Elke Gasse confirms this, but also points to the short-term nature of material that is quickly learned: “It would be good if someone went swimming with the children three times a week to consolidate what they had learned.” It happens sometimes when we are at school. Depending on the grade level, the students have weekly or bi-weekly swimming lessons throughout the school year or half a year.

Children need to develop self-confidence

For Gasse, after explaining how to treat each other with respect and the usual bathing rules on the intensive course, the priority is for the children to develop self-confidence and learn to save themselves. First, they train the necessary muscles: they put their hands on the edge of the pool, push themselves up and climb out.

Gasse explains that you shouldn’t fool yourself: even if the children could persevere, there is no guarantee that they will. “Anyone who falls into the water is startled, disoriented and trying to breathe.”

Gather strength with the starfish exercise

With the starfish exercise, the little ones can float backwards on the water – mouth and nose are far away from the surface of the water, you gather strength to be able to swim further. But then you also have to pass a series of counter tests: Jumping onto a mat and walking across it trains your balance, orientation and exhalation under water, dive into the inside of a large ring. The water educator sees clear progress.

“In the next step, the individual children must be supported specifically in the regular swimming lessons in the autumn,” says Danielle Thomas, head of the elementary school St. Ida, and explains the continuation of the support program. Specialists like Elke Gasse from the swimming school must – unlike the school’s swimming teacher – go into the water.

95,000 euros approved

School official Heike Kühne is responsible for running the program “Arrival and collection after Corona”. The municipality has been granted 95,000 euros for this, which since November 2021 has flowed into various measures. These include educational vouchers, visits to learning sites outside of class and the purchase of promotional materials. 475 children attend the three elementary schools.

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