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The start of something extraordinary

Glenholme students flourish in the water

One of the first schools in the Bay of Plenty to join the Kiwi Swim Safe programme are working hard to give their students more time building skills and confidence in the water.

Matua Eric lies great importance in the school pool at Glenholme Primary in Rotorua. He is constantly on the lookout as to how he can make it better and keep it open longer for the tamariki at the school.

The heated school pool, one of few in Rotorua, is open all Term One and Term Four every year with students swimming daily and now a swim school is also utilising the pool after school.

This year Matua Eric has added artificial grass to reduce slipping hazards and a waterproof clock (a clock in a container).

The teachers and students at Glenholme School love their pool too with aquatics a big part of the school’s health and physical education curriculum.

Erin Fowler, Swimming New Zealand Education Advisor for the Bay of Plenty, has been working with Glenholme School since 2010, when they joined the Kiwi Swim Safe programme. Since then the student’s skills in the pool have vastly improved along with the teacher’s confidence teaching at the pool.

Since becoming a Kiwi Swim Safe School the students have regularly attended the Beach Ed programme through Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and this year attended a school camp where they had to build a raft and cross the river. Erin is also a regular at the school pool assisting the teachers with new tricks and tips to help the students.

This year has seen the introduction of the new Water Skills for Life initiative and the teachers and students have enjoyed learning new skills in the pool that will help them in the wider aquatic environments.

Students have learnt to scull both head and feet first including sculling through the rocks, through waves and with and against currents all created in the pool.

Each teacher has commented on the new initiative and agree with the objectives and enjoyed “lots of great ideas and skills to bring back to the pool and class when thinking about water safety”.

There are many new migrants at Glenholme school and often language is a barrier at the pool too. One new entrant to the pool, and new to New Zealand too, brought their togs along just like everyone else.

Unfortunately, their togs consisted of a thick cotton top and shorts and no towel. Despite the teacher’s best efforts language is proving to be a big barrier as the parents believe these are togs.

A quick whip around though found some togs and Erin provided a towel so the student could experience the water and the school pool in a safer manner. Perhaps you could donate togs that don’t fit any more to your nearest school just for this predicament!