Madison schools make room for swimming safety in third grade curriculum

MADISON, Ala. -- Madison elementary schools are making sure their students are safe and prepared when it comes to swimming.  The district is partnering with the Heart of the Valley YMCA to bring an anti-drowning initiative to all third graders.

"We have a three-day program where we do safety material," said Aquatics Director, Molly Frankenberg.

Frankenberg says the safety class covers all the bases.

"We will do our 'reach or throw, don't go' ...teaching them not to jump in after their friends," Frankenberg said.  "On the second day, we go over the safety topic of boating, we go over our help position and our huddle position, and then on the third day we end up going over water park safety."

This fall, 700 Madison third graders will participate in the SPLASH program as a part of their school curriculum.

"I have students in my classroom that have never been in a pool," said Horizon Elementary teacher, Joanne Hulvey. "So for them, this is maybe the only time this year that they get to swim."

Students are split up into groups by skill level. By the end of the three days, Frankenberg says they see big improvements. "With our beginner level, we do see a little bit more of being comfortable in the water, a little bit more free will to do their own thing," she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five people who die from drowning are children 14-years-old and younger.