A new swimming program for students with special needs is creating confidence and fun in Eskasoni. Since starting last September, the class of six students in Learning Centre 2, their educational assistants, and their teacher travel to the Kiwanis Pool in Sydney once a month for a morning of swimming fun.
Student Services Consultant, Janean Marshall, said the benefits of the swimming program to the students’ individual learning goals are plentiful.
“Each student has their own aide so they’re able to learn at their own pace and in their own way,” said Marshall.
She said an overarching goal for the program was to teach the students basic swimming and water survival skills because open or unsupervised water poses a greater danger and challenge to many individuals with sensory and mobility issues. A certified swim instructor at the Kiwanis Pool volunteers their time to instruct the class.
Marshall says in addition to the acquired skills, students are engaging in a unique and soothing form of therapy because water provides a weightless environment.
“Before this program, one teen participant had never been swimming because she is in a wheelchair,” said Marshall. “As the students spend more time in the water, they are becoming more comfortable with the feeling of it, getting stronger, and are having fun.”
“It’s wonderful to see the students improve month after month, and the pride and joy in their faces when they do.”