Teaching English Learners About Swimming & Water Safety

Manitoba, Canada, where ESL Library’s head office is located, has over 100,000 lakes and waterways. In recent years, Manitoba has welcomed many newcomers and refugees who do not know how to swim. A recent article in a local newspaper noted that “new Canadians from 11 to 14 years old are five times less likely to know how to swim than their Canadian-born counterparts.”

At ESL Library, we strongly believe that swimming is an essential skill for all ages. This month, we’ve created a set of learning materials that language and/or swimming teachers can use to help encourage and inspire newcomers to take swimming lessons and learn about water safety.


Our new flashcard sets offer every word and image you need, including swimming strokes, parts of the pool, and swimwear. (There’s even a burkini.)

Word Bank

We have two Word Bank lessons for absolute beginners or young learners. One lesson focuses on swimming strokes and actions and the other focuses on things at the pool.

Visual Learning

We also have a new Visual Learning resource that can be used as an introductory lesson before students get in the pool. Non-members (lifeguards, swim teachers, parents, etc.) can access and print this resource for free from our blog, so feel free to share this resource!

Functional English

Would your English learners know how to call 911 in the case of a drowning? Help prepare your students before an emergency arises by using one of these ready-made lessons:

We hope you’ll find time to talk about water safety in your classes this year and possibly inspire your students to register for swimming lessons!


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