Guest Author, Don Thomas – Twenty first century learning and our kids’ use of technology has appeared to monopolize interest in recent times. But last night at a School Council meeting we discussed the idea of whether the ability to swim is a twenty first century skill.
For my money there is no question; it was a twentieth century skill, first of course, but just as vital today as a few decades ago.
The second question is whether schools are the right or proper place for swimming to be taught? As with AIDS, parenthood, STD’s, money handling, and a plethora of others, the question might be where else could we as a community guarantee it could be done for all students. In Airdrie and Cochrane with community facilities it is certainly easier for children; most times reciprocal agreements make this something all schools make the time to visit. But what about other smaller communities and the rural areas?
Is it time for us to redefine educational expectations? In this discussion there are more than just a few tricky questions. Presently most, but not all parents, spend what it takes to ensure their children can swim. They do it in summer camps, special sessions during the school year, and in many other ways. Would it be worthwhile to explore if parents would foot the bill to ensure their children could swim by grade three? And this would have to be a ‘mastery learning’ approach – one where no child can fail. It could save money in the long run but that is still to be determined.
If we concentrate of what kids need, we would all agree that swimming is essential. If it is then what should our actions be?
Profile – Don Thomas is Ward 3 Trustee, representing residents from the City of Airdrie