TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) — First graders throughout the Tupelo Public School District are learning the basics of water safety. It’s part of an annual program that has been recognized by the governor’s office as an example of what can happen when cities and schools work together for a common goal.
These first graders from Parkway Elementary are trading classroom time, for pool time.
Each day this week they will spend 45 minutes at the Tupelo Aquatics Center, as part of the “Safe Splash “ Program.
That program began five years ago as a partnership between the Parks and Rec Department and Tupelo Public Schools as a way to help students conquer their fear of water, under close adult supervision.
“At a young age they’re very, with their teachers they’re able to have that confidence in the water so they feel more comfortable in the water at a younger age so it’s easier to learn how to swim at this age,” said Tupelo Aquatics Center Director Amy Kennedy.
By the end of the week, if a student is new to the water the goal is to have them be comfortable when they put their head underwater. If a student has some knowledge of swimming, the goal is to help them develop different strokes, like the breaststroke or the backstroke.
First graders say it’s fun learning about swimming and lessons that can be life savers.
“If you drown, you’ll have to swim back up to the top of the water,” said First Grader Beckley Topp.
Instructors spend about 3 hours in the water daily, but way it’s worth all the hard work.
“It’s a good feeling because we never know if a few years down the road this might save a child’s life and if this saves one child, then it will all be worth it,” said Parkway Coach Clint Newsom.