What a first week back from break! The hustle and bustle of students and teachers returning to R35 marked the start of the second semester, but more importantly also the start of the Earthraging with English program this year!
Throughout the week, Earthraging with English took place across four beach sessions; a morning 8:30-11:00session, and an afternoon session from 1:00-3:30, over the course of two days.
Each session typically started with an overeager crowd of beach-ready students surrounding the ESL office an hour before kick-off, followed by R35 and Wicked Diving staff introductions, before the school bus was filled to the brim with students, teachers, and a plethora of flotation devices and snorkel gear and shipped off to the beach. Once there, we began each beach session with a mandatory 20-minute beach clean-up, followed by a short presentation by Lena, a dive instructor from Wicked Diving, explaining the dangers non-decomposable wastes in the marine environment. Altogether, we gathered more than 30 bags full of trash in our short beach cleanups over the two days—an absolutely shocking number!
Following the beach clean-up, we broke the kids into smaller groups of about four or five students per teacher, and started our basic swimming lessons both in the ocean and in the adjacent freshwater inlet. To start, we practiced blowing bubbles, floating, and kicking. If students felt comfortable, they then progressed to incorporating stroke and breath alignment into the mix. To our surprise and delight, many students quickly felt comfortable to perform all of these new skills without a life jacket and started to swim and snorkel all on their own!
To finish off, many of the students came together to participate in relay races and other fun water games, and before we knew it, we were either packing up and heading back to campus for lunch before our second session, or heading home to pass out before dinner. We could not have hoped for a more action-packed first week, and we all absolutely look forward to doing the sessions again for the 100+ other students that haven’t had a chance to go to the week yet. Stay tuned for our final four beach sessions this week before moving on to a week of swimming pool sessions!