With the warmer weather on the way, Cecilie Elliott of Swimming New Zealand is working hard to give Taranaki children the skills to survive in water.
“‘Water Skills for Life’ is the national standard for all primary and intermediate schools, focusing on water safety and survival skills, along with the basic foundations of swimming,” she explains.
Through local schools, Cecilie provides the Water Skills for Life Teacher PD workshops and then supports the teacher’s poolside while they are teaching their students. Classroom based sessions are also offered to schools, focusing on beach safety, river safety and safe boating, ensuring our young people make safe decisions, whether they are in, on or around water.
Water Skills for Life has 27 core competencies, with skills to be learnt in the classroom which then link to the pool sessions and other aquatic environments. “The aim of the program is to reduce drowning events,” says Cecilie. “Children get to understand and respect water safety rules, hazards and risks in a range of environments like pools, beaches, rivers, lakes, boating and offshore.”
Swimming New Zealand receives funding from Water Safety NZ to provide Water Skills for Life free to all primary school teachers, where the school has a pool. Funding from the TOI Foundation and Tasman Marine has also supported Cecilie’s role in this region.
Parents wanting to educate themselves can get videos and information at https://waterskills.org.nz.