Week One Off to a Big Splash
Three swim sessions down—over 100 students have swum at Bangsak beach!
Quick Thai education system lesson: grades in Thailand are divided into two parts, loosely translated as primary and secondary grades, called Patom and Matthayom. So when Thai classes are described as P1, that means 1st grade in the American school system. Patom stops at P6 (6th grade) and M1 is 7th grade and so forth.
This week there have already been swim sessions for four grades: P4, P5, M1 and M3. The Patoms are beyond cute. We love witnessing the new Wicked Dive staff arrive at the school, unprepared for the onslaught of adorable smiles and screams of “Teacher! Swimming!” Looks aside, the students performed water-safe skills quite well, even with some decent waves that provided lots of fun.
We kept student to adult ratios low, to ensure safety so that each student could be assessed for skills. With few exceptions, all of the M students can blow bubbles, float on their backs, kick and breathe wearing a mask and snorkel. Most of them were swimming circles around us and readily took freestyle tips to advance their skills. All of the younger students could blow bubbles and flutter kick, and although floating was a challenge for the more negatively buoyant ones, they at least felt comfortable in the water and had fun.
Grades were divided into marine animal teams, lead by either Wicked Diving staff or an ESL teacher (Team Dolphin, Team Turtle, Team Jellyfish…) and teams raced against each other in epic relay form. Clare stood waist deep in the water with outstretched hands while individuals from two teams sprinted into the surf, eventually soaring torso first into the water, swimming the rest of the way to touch Clare’s hands and pivot back to their team. The outwards pull of receding waves made the journey back to shore a hilarious show for the waiting, screaming teams.
Stay tuned for more Earthraging updates—P3, P6 and M6 are next!