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The start of something extraordinary


About 1 hours’ drive inland from Christchurch is the small country school of Darfield.

Although the teachers here at Darfield School have designed and implemented an amazing swim programme, they wanted to expand.

Swimming New Zealand Education Advisor Lee-Anne Bell ran a ‘Water Skills for Life’ professional development session at the school to assist staff in bringing new ideas to teaching juniors and senior students. The workshop worked in perfectly with the school calendar as some staff were heading off to camp the next day and had the WSFL content fresh in their minds.

Darfield School uses the community pool right next door to the school which has an indoor pool that is 34 degrees and an outdoor pool that is 28 degrees.

Unlike most schools the teachers of Darfield get into the water with the junior classes. 4 teachers are in for 2 hours and the other teachers bring the swimmers through every 30mins and rotate through the groups.

“There was great participation from all the children supporting each other… one 6-year-old girl called Tessa, was too scared to put her face in the water just a few lessons ago and now she has the confidence to do so, that was a very special moment”, says Bell.