In March 2012, The Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition in partnership with the Early Learning Coalition of SW Florida, Collier County Parks and Recreation, Greater Naples YMCA, Greater Marco Island YMCA and City of Naples River Park Aquatic Center launched the highly successful SWIM Central program. In 1999, Broward County developed the SWIM Central concept to address the growing number of drowning an near-drowning child victims. Since its inception, SWIM Central has provided water safety education to over 275,000 children in Broward County. None of the children who have participated in the program has been a near drowning or drowning victim. This is a curriculum-based program with guidelines specific to water safety.
Based on the national and local drowning statistics, our program targets children ages 3-5 years attending social-economically- disadvantage daycares and preschools. The program is supervised by professional aquatic directors and staffed with qualified instructors and lifeguards. SWIM Central provides a session of ten 30-minute lessons over a 2-week period. Each session begins with an evaluation of each child’s water safety skills. After an initial evaluation, the children are split into groups and work individually to develop water safety skills at their own pace. There is a maximum ratio of one instructor for every 6 children, but generally the ratio is much lower and all children receive individualized attention. At the end of the session, the children are evaluated again. Not only do the children learn a life saving skill, they also start to develop a healthy relationship with the water that can open doors of opportunity.
In 2012, 500 preschool children were provided by our Coalition the SWIMC Central Program (ten 30 minute water safety lessons); 16 school-readiness pre-schools and 4 public aquatic facilities participated in the program. With the support of this grant, the Coalition hopes to have over 700 preschool children participating in 2013.
SWIM Central Program funded by 21st Century Oncology and WaterproofFL – Florida Department of Health.
Aquatic Facilities Forms
NDN Front Page Article – April 22nd, 2012
NBC-2 – March 16th, 2012
For more pictures please go to SWIM Central Album on our Facebook Page