Trudging through August’s sweltering heat can seem cumbersome for many, but not the children at the Starrett Early Learning Center’s (ELC) day camp. These campers, ages three through five, excitedly walk to the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC) twice a week, so that they can start their summer days in the gym’s training pools. Little hands splashing, and the tiniest, yet biggest of smiles echoed throughout the pool’s atrium. The exuberant expressions on the children’s faces showed that they were not ready to get out of the pool, after less than an hour of pool time. However, they know that they will be back. These toddlers alternate pool days, so while one group is at the BSC, the others are at the sprinklers or enjoying various activities at the ELC.
Some parents may worry that their children aren’t learning enough during the summer because they are not participating in educational activities. Well that isn’t the case for campers at the ELC because leaving the pool means trading floating noodles, for classroom discussion.
“Since the children are so young, many of them haven’t had a chance to become acquainted with water, and this activity is a fun way to cool down in the heat, exercise and learn about water,” said ELC kindergarten teacher, Kimaura Buntin. After having fun in the pool, the children walk back to their classrooms at ELC where they learn all about the water. “The students like to show us what they have learned,” Buntin said. She described their continued enthusiasm when they explain why their foam toys float but their swim goggles sink. The lessons at ELC consist of what animals live in the water, water density, and learning the different types of bodies of water (such as oceans and lakes).
Although the children aren’t receiving formal swimming instructions at the BSC, they are splashing around in the water and enjoying themselves. Being that they are so young, ELC teacher, Sacoyia James, said she hopes they are learning how to maneuver through the buoyant water as a form of exercise. By jumping up and down in the water, the children are strengthening their leg and arm muscles due to the resistance the water creates.
Summer swimming proves to be a unique way for the children at ELC to express all of their energy, cool off, and be educated.
Photos by Malick Mercier
Additional Reporting by Amanda Moses