Here’s an idea from San Francisco about sailing through grade school that would work well on the York River, or any river large enough for small boats.

Thousands of fourth graders enjoying a new twist on science and math lessons while learning basic principles of sailing as part of Set Sail Learn. It’s billed as an engaging classroom experience on San Francisco Bay, made possible by a grant from the St. Francis Sailing Foundation.

Children from 28 grade schools in San Francisco are learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) on the water through sailing as well as in a hands-on classroom at the Treasure Island Sailing Center. For some of the children, it’s their first encounter with the city’s greatest natural resource, San Francisco Bay.

 “Access to the Bay provides an exciting way to learn STEM principles,” said Carisa Harris-Adamson, chair of Treasure Island Board of Directors, the nonprofit community sailing center that developed Set Sail Learn.  “Children who show interest in the sport from this introduction can continue sailing in our after school or summer programs, which offer scholarships to thousands of children each year.”

“Set Sail Learn engages the different learning modalities of the  visual, kinetic, song, dance and sailing,” said fourth grade teacher Joi Jackson of the San Francisco Unified School District. “I saw this program touch every part of each of my children.”

After a pilot program succeeded last fall, Set Sail Learn now runs Monday-Thursday 9am-1 pm at the Treasure Island Sailing Center. A typical day consists of classroom learning on topics such as Ecology of the Bay, Power of the Wind, or Maritime Math & History, followed by an on-the-water sailing session in RS Venture boats.

The St. Francis Sailing Foundation supports organizations that put thousands of underserved youth and disabled sailors on the water in enrichment programs that teach sailing, life lessons, and science utilizing sailing. St. Francis also promotes competitive sailing and US Olympic Sailing Team development  of serious Olympic athletes, beginning Olympic hopefuls, and junior sailors.

Treasure Island Sailing Center’s mission is to improve the community and the sport of sailing by providing access, facilities, and sailing instruction, STEM education and life skills development to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, Over the past 15 years , the sailing center has engaged 13,000 participants in the joy of sailing and provided over 70% of our students with full scholarships over the years, including 90% last year.

Across the Bay, Oakland has had a similar teaching program for kids since 2000, according to a comment posted about this report.

Reported by Jane Eagleson. Condensed from 

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