Winnipeg, MB - Many grade three and four students in Winnipeg are going to get part of their education in the pool, starting in January.
The City of Winnipeg, in partnership with the Winnipeg School Division, is piloting a new water safety education program called "Swimming Counts" to provide swimming lessons to students as part of their school curriculum.
“Swimming and water safety are basic life skills that are so important for kids to learn from a young age,” said Councillor Mike Pagtakhan, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks. “The pilot project partnership between the City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg School Division is an important step towards reaching all children in the division equally to provide vital swimming education.”
The City of Winnipeg will pilot this program with the Winnipeg School Division, which will provide swimming skills and water safety education to approximately 2,300 Grade 3 and 4 students from 59 schools in the division from January to June 2018.
“The Swimming Counts program is going to save lives by giving our students a basic level of survival skills when it comes to water,” says Mark Wasyliw, Trustee, Winnipeg School Division Board of Trustees. “I’m pleased that this partnership will make it possible for all youth to learn water safety at a young age.”
The Swimming Counts program was designed to provide streamlined lessons to students to reduce costs, and will offer three 40-minute pool times plus one hour of water safety education in the classroom.
“The Canadian Red Cross is pleased to work with the City of Winnipeg, which is our third-largest water safety training partner in Canada, by providing resources and curriculum to support the Swimming Counts program. This program will help bring valuable water safety education to numerous Winnipeg-area students and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Shawn Feely, vice-president, Manitoba and Nunavut, Canadian Red Cross.
According to the World Health Organization’s “Prevention Drowning and Implementation Guide” 2017, schools are the preferred entry points for swim skills and water safety training.
“The Lifesaving Society is proud to provide input on the City’s new water safety pilot project,” said Christopher Love, Water Smart® Coordinator for the Lifesaving Society – Manitoba Branch. “Any meaningful effort to reduce drownings must include programs providing instruction in survival swimming and foundational swim skills.”
The Swimming Counts program is currently being piloted with the Winnipeg School Division; no external sign-up is required. Once the pilot program has been concluded, the Swimming Counts program will be evaluated and if successful, will be considered to become available to other Winnipeg schools in an effort to assist in drowning prevention strategies for young children in Winnipeg and surrounding areas.
For information on other City of Winnipeg recreation programs and services, please see City of Winnipeg – Community Services.
Laura Manning, Manitoba Post