Wundine on Wheels is the name of the latest project from the Stuttgart Josef Wund Foundation. Learn to swim on wheels! “What is it now?” She asked herself that question in the first place, when she heard about the project for the first time, says Theresa Schopper on the forecourt of the opera in Stuttgart. The Minister of Education is the patron of “Wundine on Wheels”. From now on, swimming courses for five- to eight-year-old children will be held in the mobile pool – a fully equipped teaching pool on six wheels. First in a district in Karlsruhe, later in many corners of the country and possibly also in other federal states. The foundation would like to have several roll-up pools built at a cost of around a quarter of a million euros. Additional sponsors are sought.
The pool in the discarded, completely rebuilt and almost 14 meter long container measures six meters and is just over a meter deep. The mobile bathroom is equipped with a changing room, showers and toilet. With the help of a modern, very economical heat pump, the water is heated to around 31 degrees within 24 hours, says Jürgen Laub, head of the company Industry and Metalworking Laub from Sachsenheim in the Ludwigsburg district, which developed and built the bathroom. on wheels.
Six children at once
One of the Wund Foundation’s most important project partners in this project is the German Children’s Sports Academy. Matthias Nagel, head of the German Children’s Swimming Academy, part of the Sports Academy, said at the official presentation of Wundine that the small pool is ideal for getting up to six children used to the water at the same time and teaching them the first movements when swim. About floating and turning in the water. A swimming session lasts 45 minutes and it is possible to reach up to 60 children per day. After getting used to the water for the first time, more swimming lessons are of course necessary, if possible in a larger pool.
The first practical use is expected to begin in early October in Karlsruhe-Wettersbach. Before the end of this year, kindergarten and primary school children will have their first experiences in the water. The girls and boys are taught by swimming teachers from the local educational institutions and by staff at the Children’s Sports School. The foundation has already received a number of inquiries from cities and local communities for next year, including from the Rems-Murr district.
No competition with swimming clubs
The managing director of the Josef Wund Foundation, Christoph Palm, says: “We want to fill a gap”, that is, bring the teaching pool to places that do not have their own pool. Under no circumstances does the foundation wish to compete with the swimming clubs or DLRG. The project partners include the Baden and Württemberg Swimming Associations. Referring to Wundine, Palm explains with a wink that the foundation and its partners have “shrunk the pool to the size of a bonsai”, but it meets all the requirements.
The background to the Wund Foundation’s commitment is sad: In Germany, there are still many who drown because they cannot swim. The DLRG has found that about 60 percent of all elementary school students cannot swim or cannot swim well enough after grade four—even though the curriculum says students must learn to swim in class. According to a statement from the foundation’s general manager, Günter Geyer, 2,002 people have drowned nationwide in the past five years. About 25 percent of all primary schools have no pool nearby, so regular swimming lessons are impossible. One solution: the “nationally unique”, mobile Wundine bath in the truck trailer.
Incidentally, the Wundine mascot is an otter because this excellent diver and swimmer was born a non-swimmer, like all human children. Both otters and humans must first learn to swim. Otters begin to do this when they are two months old. According to swimming experts, people should start at the age of five at the latest – in the outdoor pool, in the indoor pool or in the Bonsai-Wundine pool.
Note: The article first appeared in the Stuttgarter Zeitung.