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Learn to Swim and the Curriculum?

24 March 2005

Learn to Swim and the Curriculum?

Attacking the on-going issue of preventing drownings across New Zealand has seen Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) ring the bell in primary and intermediate schools.

As the vital building block in the Swim For Life campaign, WSNZ is providing the funding for the training of 2,000 primary and intermediate teachers, during the next six months in methods of teaching swimming and personal survival.

The training, undertaken by Swimming New Zealand, will provide teachers with the skills and confidence to deliver effective learn to swim and survive tuition to their students.

Water Safety New Zealand Executive Director Alan Muir stated, “The schools have told us that professional development in this area is a key requirement in lifting the quality of outcomes and this is the initial strategy we have focussed on.

While we are lifting the profile of learn to swim and survive in schools, and providing assistance where we can, it is critical that the Government acknowledge that schools need assistance in this key educational life skill and therefore should provide for adequate resources to ensure the delivery of quality learn to swim and survive programmes. Currently learn to swim and survive can be undertaken via the Health and Physical Education curriculum but not as a mandatory subject.

The Government has a responsibility to provide for the core life skill of learn to swim and survive being a mandatory component of the education curriculum delivered in all New Zealand schools”.

This call was supported at a recent Swim For Life key stakeholders meeting. Key stakeholders included Water Safety New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand, New Zealand Swim Coaches and Teachers Association, New Zealand Recreation Association, Physical Education New Zealand and Regional Sports Trusts.

Swim For Life was launched by WSNZ two years ago as the first major learn to swim and survive initiative in schools since the 1950’s with the end goal of ensuring that all New Zealand children have the ability to swim 200m confidently and competently by age 12.

Research has found that learning to swim and survive has slipped off the priority radar screen in terms of its importance. It was also discovered that while many schools were allocating significant time to having children experience aquatic activities, quality learn to swim and survive outcomes were not being achieved.

“Learn to swim and water survival must once again be accepted as a core life skill for all New Zealanders. WSNZ will be calling on all sectors of the community to support moves to ensure that opportunities to develop these skills are available to every primary and intermediate school child” said Mr Muir.

“In excess of 50% of all primary schools in New Zealand have responded positively to Swim For Life. This indicates that our communities value and recognise the importance of learning to swim and survive, the challenge now lies in meeting the desired outcomes collectively.”


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