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Water Skills for Life


Water Skills for Life

A new approach to teaching young people water safety and swimming skills.

Following an extensive review of current aquatic survival skills programme delivery in New Zealand and a close look at international best practice, Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) and its members including Swimming New Zealand has developed Water Skills for Life.

Water Skills for Life is aimed at teaching 5 – 13-year-old Kiwis the skills they need to help keep themselves safe in, on and around water. The new skills are the building blocks for the safe enjoyment of the many aquatic pursuits our country has to offer and are also the essential basis for participating in all aquatic sports.

Water Skills for Life is the national standard for aquatic education in New Zealand primary schools (children in years 1 to 8). 

Water Skills for Life is made up of seven skill sets that contain 27 core skills, it establishes broad fundamental competencies for life-long water safety.

It gives children the skills and knowledge they need to assess risk and make smart decisions around water so they can stay out of trouble and survive should they get into trouble.

Children are taught Water Skills for Life at their school, either by their school teacher or by a swim teacher at a community pool. Schools can decide how they teach their students Water Skills for Life. Swimming New Zealand Education advisers provide training and support for schools and their teachers and swim schools and their swim teachers to ensure Kiwi children receive quality Water Skills for Life Education.

Swimming New Zealand delivers this free professional development opportunities to school teachers and swim teachers across New Zealand, with sponsorship from The Warehouse and funding support from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and ACC.



What type of support is available

  • Professional Development workshops with teachers at time to suit school and teacher’s needs (after school, during staff meetings, teacher only days)
  • Conducting classroom interactive based learning about becoming safer in on and around water at school, home and in the community.
  • Dryland sessions on water safety and activities for non-swimmers
  • Introducing safety at the beach
  • Connecting your school to other water safety partners and programmes
  • Poolside support
  • introduction to the Water Skill for Life competencies, an opportunity to watch modelling of class management, assessments and lesson delivery,
  • opportunities to ask for and gain support with specific learn to swim and water safety progressions,
  • how to run sessions with children of varied abilities,
  • how to identify common swimming faults and how to correct them,
  • how to make swimming time fun while still improving the skill level of students.

 Water Skills for Life