My lifeguard sense came back instantly as I watched the ninety or so first graders splash and flail across the pool. I was experiencing (yet again) something completely different from my “normal.”
In America, children learn to swim at community pools such as the YMCA. In Japan, students learn at their elementary schools. From their homeroom teachers. Swimming is treated as any other type of P.E. class.
Every spring, the teachers and students drain last year’s water, clean out and refill the pool in preparation for swimming lessons.
During a free period in my schedule, I was invited to watch at the poolside as the first graders had their swimming lessons. It was very interesting. A massive group swimming lesson.
When I was regularly life guarding, swimming lessons was one of the usual pool activities I had to watch over. The class sizes were typically small so that the teacher could really focus on the students individually.
But swimming lessons are not mandatory in the U.S. Apparently they are in Japan. Not only do the Japanese students learn basic survival strokes, they also learn competitive strokes such as the butterfly.
I find this very interesting. Should something like swimming lessons be mandatory in elementary schools?
Karl had an opportunity to join in with swimming lessons this week. He had a great time. Unfortunately, he didn’t have sunscreen…and now resembles a lobster.