Primary schools in Sweden offer swimming lessons for children as a preventive measure against drowning, and everyone is expected to be able to swim in year 6. Yet, drownings among children still is a concern being one of the leading causes of unintentional injury death. 38% of all children up to 17 years old can't swim as of today, and many are sure to be silent about it all the way until adulthood - due to shame, exclusion or fear of water.
Speaking with experts and teachers within school swimming, I learned that one of many reasons for such low swimming ability among children is due to a growing population, lack of smaller decent swimming halls and childrens´ reluctance to participate because of psychological fears. Classes are becoming larger and the lack of tools and swimming halls are not designed for this change. It can be tough for schools to make sure every class and child get enough swimming time and it is even harder to be able to consider children's individual abilities, fears, insecurities, and create a safe and less exposing learning environment - most notably for schools further away in the country and less financially well off.
The research’s findings revealed there is a need to consider the children's experiences of safety, religious differences, body insecurities, and feeling exposed in the swimming hall and pool environment, that's shared with the public.
How might we improve the experience of swimming lessons for large school classes in primary schools?
The project´s findings revealed that these could be improved with the help of designing tools or an environment which can help teachers to work in a more structured way to minimize distractions, get a good overview of the class of children and being able to teach water activities safely with consideration of a bigger variety of swimming abilities and insecurities, where swimming lessons are conducted.
The resulting design is called Edu Pool and is an educational proposed system for school swimming that creates a safe environment where lessons can be conducted in privacy and organized according to the variety of swimming abilities in a school class. Edu Pool is a new smaller swimming hall designed to be a closer and more welcoming learning environment than the big, noisy and often crowded public swimming halls built in the cities. Resulting in a closer and equal solution to swimming education for schools and residential areas.
A motorical controlled pool divider is designed to give more freedom in utilizing the space for safety purposes while doing activities in different groups simultaneously. It also minimizes distractions, noise and feeling being looked at. Products and the overall environment mood is to be as little intimidating, noisy, exposed and confusing as possible. The flow of movement in the room is to support the teacher's supervision as best as possible while children can feel less exposed to embarrassment and insecurities.
See the whole spatial project in 360 view here.