January 09th 2015
In a province of beaches and lakes knowing how to swim increases water safety, opens the door to many water sports like sailing and kayaking and allows enjoyment of our natural environment for life. The importance of this skill is recognized in Thrive! but how do you provide opportunities for all children in Nova Scotia to learn to swim?
You start small with plans to grow and you partner with an organization like the Lifesaving Society of Nova Scotia (LSS). LSS has a Swim to Survive program targeted to Grade 3 students during school year.
Though the goal of the program is focused on safety skills, it exposes young children to an aquatic environment at a young age, where they can learn a skill, be safe, be active and have fun. The Swim to Survive program is packaged nicely with three pool sessions to learn three skills:
- ROLL into deep water
- TREAD water (1 min.)
- SWIM (propel) 50 m
And three classroom sessions to learn about:
- Swim with a Buddy
- Check the Ice
- Wear a PFD
All costs associated with offering this program are covered by Thrive! so that cost is never a barrier for any aspects of offering this program. The Lifesaving Society coordinates all the details from contacting and organizing schools, aquatic facilities, instructors and bussing.
There are nearly 8,000 Grade 3 students, in 274 schools, across 7 School Boards. Grade 3 students are currently the focus of the program. In the 2013-14 school year the program reached nearly 70% of Grade 3’s. In 2014-15 school year the hope is to reach 80%, with the long term goal to reach 100% of Grade 3’s. As well, there are hopes to expand the program to other Grade’s.
By exposing children to swimming at an early age increases the likelihood that they might use swimming throughout their lives as one way to be physically active.