SIXTY physical education teachers from Nassau schools recently completed a week of training to execute the Swim for Ocean Survival (SOS) learn to swim programme. Ten of the teachers are from the Anglican school system and the remainder are from government schools.
“St John’s College very kindly provided for the use of their pool,” a spokesperson for SOS said. “The Freeport YMCA arranged for the manuals and instruction by Coach Iva Dreke (creator of the SOS programme), while the Ministry of Education supported and coordinated the effort.”
Teachers from Bishop Michael Eldon School in Grand Bahama are also currently training.
The initial objective of SOS and the YMCA was to teach basic water survival skills to children, through a programme that could be applied nationwide at minimal cost. The SOS programme to achieve this has now been thoroughly tested for five years and proven itself highly efficient and cost-effective.
During this short time, more than 13,000 non-swimmers have learned to survive in the water of a pool or in the ocean - all at no charge to the families. Most of these children were taught in Grand Bahama.
SOS and the YMCA are now seeking to train PE teachers and interested individuals to teach the SOS programme to more children, thereby further reducing the number of non-swimmers in the Bahamas, as well as accidents related thereto nationwide.
First Aid and CPR instruction is also being offered as part of the training and certificates will be issued to all the participants completing the programme.
“It is expected that in the very near future all of the children on Grand Bahama and many on New Providence will not only know how to swim, but will be enjoying swimming as a sport,” the spokesperson said.