It’s taken quite some time — 5 years in fact — to get swim lessons in the Virginia Beach public school systems.
We have Rosemary Wilson, and some local businesses, to thank for that. Wilson is the City Councilmember that first suggested swim lessons be added into the curriculum but the idea was shot down by the VB School Board.
Now, with $7500 in donations from McKenzie Construction and the Virginia Beach Hotel Association, 350 elementary school children in Title I schools will receive free swim lessons. That’s a mere $2.14 per child, per lesson to learn an invaluable life skill, in an area completely inundated by waterways.
Awareness and education are the first steps in preventing drownings. Has there been a discussion to include water safety education in a classroom setting into the curriculum? Arlington Public Schools has a component of their physical education curriculum dedicated to teaching water safety awareness COMBINED with swim lessons.
Don’t get us wrong — we are all for swim lessons. According to USA Swimming, “participation in formal swimming lessons could reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%.”
But, if we are only teaching 350-500 children every year, the vast majority of school children aren’t receiving anything. So, why not add water safety education into the physical education curriculum COMBINED with the swim lessons being provided by such outstanding local businesses and associations?