Life Saving Victoria (LSV) has launched new online education resources that can help primary and secondary school aged children to learn vital water safety skills while at home.
The new Swimming and Water Safety Toolkit resources have been developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Victorian schools across the state and to support schools in moving to online learning in Term 2.
LSV Swimming and Water Safety Education Project Officer Kaitlyn Greenhill said the new resources went live on LSV’s Swimming and Water Safety online Toolkit in March and have a focus on teaching children essential knowledge around water safety and personal survival skills while not even getting wet.
“The new resources allow for swimming and water safety concepts to be taught both in the classroom and at home,” she said.
With feedback from schools and aquatic facilities about the impact of COVID-19 on students’ swimming and water safety education, LSV’s education team started looking at different ways they could encourage students to continue to learn about water safety at home.
“It was an opportunity to look outside the square. LSV’s education team first released digital classroom resources, that could be printed and used for classroom-based lessons or shared digitally with students studying remote. These resources also link to different areas of the Victorian Curriculum, allowing students to further develop their water safety knowledge in the absence of practical swimming lessons,” Ms Greenhill said.
“We then began developing different activities that could also be used by parents and carers working from home or during school holidays, allowing them to use materials around the house to engage their children with water safety.
“At home, all you need are some everyday materials and equipment, an outdoor area and members of your family.
“The water safety activities include a scavenger hunt, an obstacle course, relay races and sandbox activities among others, and aim to keep children educated and entertained.”
There are also plans to create more resources to add to the toolkit in coming weeks and months, including a ‘meet a lifeguard’ interactive video session.
“While the new resources have been developed in response to COVID-19, we want these resources to be used well beyond the recovery stage of the pandemic and that’s the way they have been designed,” Ms Greenhill said.
LSV General Manager Education and Sport, Kate Simpson, said LSV’s new additions to the online Toolkit highlighted the importance of being adaptable in a changing world.
“This is a great sign that despite everything going on, LSV is able to pivot in directions that allow it to continue its mission to prevent drowning deaths and injury in the state of Victoria,” she said.
“It is almost certainly the first of many exciting new innovations and programs that are to come out of this need to evolve as an organisation, so watch this space.”
Ms Simpson said there was another important reason for the resources to be available, including the possibility some children would get to the end of the year with very little practical swimming experience.
“Victorian children have not had the opportunity to enjoy the water this summer and autumn, first with the bushfires and now coronavirus,” she said.
“We’d really like to see everyone enjoying the water safely next summer and we hope these online resources can play a role in keeping children engaged.
“These are fantastic new resources that should help assure parents they are keeping up their children’s water safety knowledge.”
All new and existing educational resources for the classroom or remote learning can be accessed here.
Fun water safety activities for the family during weekends, school holidays and free time, can be found here.