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 400,000 children in Broward County and there are now more than 180 elementary schools transporting children to SWIM Central educational programs offered in neighborhood pools. 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.
Since SWIM Central started in March 2012, over 1,111 children have participated, 9,869 water safety lessons have been taught. SWIM Central is possible, thanks to generous donations from the Naples Children & Education Foundation – Founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival and 21st Century Oncology.
19 school-readiness pre-schools and 4 public aquatic facilities have participated in the program.
SWIM Central Program Funded By
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