WOODBRIDGE, Va. – On Memorial Day last year, 7-year-old Fatmata Kamara drowned at a community pool while on a playdate. Some of her schoolmates gathered together to mark the tragedy by learning about water safety Sunday.
“We want to ensure that all of our children know how to swim so that if they do get into a pool or an area where there’s water they know what to do in case they get into trouble,” said Joanne Jackson, principal of Lorton Station Elementary School in Fairfax County where Fatmata was a second-grader.
The school PTA organized the outing to the Kids Choice Sports Center, which houses a franchise of the British Swim School.
“We teach all children how to float on their backs first and how to rollover and float because if they can rollover and float their face is out of the water, so they can breathe and call for help,” said Darlene Coons, franchise owner of the British Swim School.
Before getting in the indoor pool for lessons, the children learned about flotation devices and heard talks on water safety.
Parents picked up a few tips, too. They learned that grown-ups should keep a constant eye on children in the water and be prepared for emergencies. Outdoor pools require proper fencing, and furniture should not be near the fence that would enable little children to climb over.