A sobering statistic from CDC estimates that in the United States 34% of American adults are unable to swim 24 yards.
In many countries around the world, swimming lessons for children are mandatory. Both Victoria and Tasmania in Australia have made swimming lessons a mandatory part of the primary school curriculum and there is a push throughout the rest of Australia to follow suit. In an effort to persuade legislators of the importance of teaching young children to swim, Leisa Hart, the chief executive officer of the YMCA in New South Wales recently wrote:
“Just as we teach children to walk, talk, to learn their ABCs and basic maths, we need to educate them about water and its dangers, from backyard pool risks through to how to avoid rips in the ocean.” Hart wrote. “This could begin as early as daycare, with accredited agencies being funded to provide children aged one to four with specialty education about water familiarization and general water safety – including teaching toddlers how to ‘swim to the side to stay alive’.”
The Department for Education in England includes learning to swim as a compulsory element in primary school PE curriculum. At the end of year 6 (age 11), all children, according to the government website, “should be taught to…swim 25 metres” (front and back) and demonstrate an understanding of water safety. Some other countries which provide swimming lessons as part of the early education curriculum include Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria.
Do you think swimming lessons should be mandatory for children in the United States?
AquatiKids of Atlanta Swimming School provides private, one-to-one swimming instruction for babies, infants, toddlers, and children 6 months of age to 6 years of age. To schedule swimming lessons and view available swimming class times for your toddler or child, please visit our website or call us at (404) 913-5385.