School children throughout New Zealand will be safer in the water following the establishment of the Aquatic Education New Zealand Trust.
Former Waitakere Mayor, current chairman of Waterfront Auckland and keen swimmer and surf life-saver, Bob Harvey is delighted to be the trust’s settlor.
“For many Kiwi kids basic swimming and water safety skills are unknown and that means they are drowning at a completely unacceptable level,” Harvey says.
“The launch means they will grow up with a good understanding of how to keep safe while having fun in the water.”
Aquatic Education New Zealand is the formal education delivery arm of WaterSafe Auckland tasked with best practice aquatic education for schools. This includes the Ministry of Education acknowledged best practice model, the Integrated Aquatic Programme (IAP) – a collaborative education initiative involving WaterSafe Auckland, Swimming N.Z., Surf Life Saving N.Z, Coastguard Boating Education, Yachting NZ and NZ Schools Waterwise.
WaterSafe Auckland business manager Teresa Stanley says water safety knowledge could prevent around 75 percent of drownings.
”Water safety is about the decisions you make around water and being able to take your skills and thinking processes from a pool into open water where conditions are changeable and risks may not be apparent,” she says. “This type of education really can and does save lives.”
The NZ Curriculum now states all children must be taught aquatic skills, knowledge and critical thinking by the end of year six.
Having already proven its success in Auckland with more than 76 percent of schools using resources provided by WaterSafe Auckland, the trust will now bring this skill and critical thinking based initiative to school children throughout New Zealand.
New Zealand schools face many challenges when it comes to the delivery of aquatic education, including the cost of transport, pool entry and lack of public pool space together with the closure of old school pools. Aquatic Education New Zealand will support addressing these issues within the delivery of the Pools2Schools™ initiative.
This takes a heated and covered portable pool, large enough to teach basic swimming and water safety skills, to those schools without access to a pool. Teachers are supported with professional development and classroom resources from the Integrated Aquatic Programme that link to many other areas of the national curriculum.