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Basic Water Safety / Reaching Assists Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #: AELP-SFY0001
Submitted by: Jeremy D. Zacher
Endorsed by: Dr. Don Descy, Mankato State University Date: October 28, 1996

Grade Level(s): Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3


  • Health/Safety

Description: Water safety is very important for children to learn. This lesson shows children at a young age, basic safety rules for swimming pools or lakes, and how to help out a distressed swimmer by the use of a reaching assist.

Goal: The student will learn about basic water safety rules and reaching assists.


  • The student will list 5 water safety rules and explain why each is important.
  • The student will perform reaching assists using three different objects.

Background Information:

This lesson plan may be altered, depending on the location of the class.
(pool, lake, oceanfront, etc…)


  • Swimming pool, lake, or oceanfront
  • Rescue Tube
  • Shepherds crook or reaching pole
  • Optional – oar, shirt, towel, branch, . . .


1. Have the students give safety rules that they already know. As they give the rules, also explain why each is important and why it should be followed.

2. Go over any safety rules that were not previously mentioned, and why each is important.

3. Explain what a distressed swimmer is, and again emphasize safety rules.

4. Ask the students what they would do if they encountered a distressed swimmer. Emphasize getting help in that situation.

5. Explain reaching assists, and give a demonstration using the shepherd’s crook.

6. Ask the students what else could be used for a reaching assist. Demonstrate the use of arms and legs for reaching assists.

7. Demonstrate assists with any other equipment that is available.

8. Have the students practice reaching assists in pairs, starting with arms and legs.

9. Have the students try reaching assists with various equipment.

10. Go over reaching assists and safety rules, and how they tie together. Finish with a summary of the safety rules.


The assessment of the objectives is within the procedure, when the students:

  • Demonstrate the reaching assists that were discussed.
  • Give safety rules that were discussed.
  • Talk about how the safety rules and reaching assists are related.