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New Life Into Preschool Water Confidence

7 December 2004
Media Release
For immediate release

Australians to Breath New Life Into Preschool Water Confidence

Infants and Preschool Water Confidence is the key topic for a selection of New Zealand's top swim teachers this weekend as they partake in what is a first for Learn To Swim in New Zealand.

Water Safety New Zealand, is hosting the Australian experts in Kirk Marks (President, AUSTSWIM) and Julie Zancanaro (the foremost Infants and Preschool tutor in Australia) for a three day workshop in Auckland.

The initiative is aimed at upskilling New Zealand's swim teachers and providing the opportunity to be more active in the vital area of Infant and Preschool Water Confidence. Water Safety New Zealand has long been an advocate of swim and survive programmes, but according to Mr. Marks, "New Zealand really has picked up the ball and run with it in its aims of introducing more preschool children to the water via water confidence lessons."

"The outstanding success of not only Australian Swimming but also our drowning rate being half that of New Zealand's is in no uncertain terms due to the added opportunities Australian children have to be involved with the water in a controlled environment from when they are only several months old" says Mr. Marks.

Alan Muir, Executive Director of Water Safety New Zealand concurs and notes "that Australia tend to be the leading light in developing water confidence in their infants and toddlers, we are excited about working with Australia to raise the bar in New Zealand."

While speaking about the benefits of water confidence lessons, Mark's states "there are increasingly more opportunities for toddlers to find themselves in the water unexpectedly nowadays, and although no person, young or old is safe in all situations, there are some key skills that if developed in the very early formative years present a greater platform for survival in the water." WSNZ is excited about the initiative that will not only target the problematic area of preschool drownings, where a significantly high 13 lives are lost on average per year, but will also instill and develop life skills from an early age in order to reduce the overall toll for drownings.

"The value of water confidence lessons can never be underestimated, but they are not a substitute for uncompromised, vigilant supervision when children are around water!" stated Muir.


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