Staff at the Dudley Park Swimming Pool have made it their mission to provide every primary school aged child in the North Canterbury region with the opportunity to participate in swimming and water safety lessons with qualified instructors, who are passionate about what they are teaching.
The staff were tasked with making a difference to the drowning statistics in the short and long term by reaching out to all schools in North Canterbury – some of whom are very rural.
Their WaiSwim programme, which uses the Water Skills for Life water safety competencies educates children so that when they grow up, they can safely enjoy and respect all bodies of water.
Staff empower the children to feel confident to let their caregivers know that they must watch them when they are in the water. Other water safety skills such as submersion; personal buoyancy; propulsion; how to orientate themselves in the water; safety for themselves and for others, and how to signal for help are also taught.
Teaching the children to swim was a large component of the programme. Water safety and talking about rivers, beaches and other bodies of water are also simulated throughout the lessons for the children to get first-hand experience of the various environments and the risks that they pose.
Teachers from the school observed and asked questions so that the lessons can continue long after the instructors have finished. They also encourage the children to talk about what they have learnt at home further reinforcing the Water Skills for Life competencies.
WaiSwim staff worked hard to make the programme as fun and interactive as possible so that the children had a positive learning experience in the water.