Life Saving Victoria (LSV) welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement enabling schools to turn unused Swimming in Schools funding into vouchers, enabling families to access swimming lessons, while building on two initiatives already on offer from LSV.
These include the meet a lifeguard program and mega beach days, facilitated by Life Saving Victoria on behalf of participating schools.
According to LSV group manager education Liz Tesone, the three initiatives have been designed to accelerate the catch-up of kids’ swimming and water safety skills following almost two years of swimming lessons missed during the pandemic.
“Regular swimming lessons and access to water safety education during kids’ formative years sets them up for a life of reduced drowning risk,” Ms Tesone said.
“This is why we have been working closely with the Department of Education and Training to provide schools, families and young Victorians with alternative ways to continue their water safety education while swim schools have been closed due to the pandemic.
“This has included our innovative water safety @ home series, which teaches kids water safety skills with just the use of a laptop or tablet – no pool or bath required – and now, these three new initiatives to ensure kids don’t miss out on developing their water literacy and fitness.
“By allowing schools to turn their unused swimming funding into vouchers that families can use to access swimming lessons outside of school hours, the Victorian Government is helping to accelerate the essential catch up of kids’ swimming skills ahead of summer.
“This is particularly important given last year’s tragic child drowning toll of 14 fatalities – the worst toll for the 0 – 14-years age group in more than 20 years. “In addition to the school swimming vouchers, Life Saving Victoria has developed two further options for schools to help catch up students’ swimming skills using their unused funding: the meet a lifeguard program and mega beach days.
“Our meet a lifeguard incursion brings lifeguards equipped with water safety activities directly to students in the classroom or online, teaching them critical water safety information in a fun and engaging way, and helping to take some of the pressure off classroom teachers.
“Mega beach days offer schools the opportunity to take students offsite to interact with exciting and informative water safety activities, where they can learn about risks specific to the coastal environment and practice those coastal safety skills in a controlled setting.
“The past two years have been tough, but what’s important now is getting kids back into pools and programs, and learning critical water safety skills that will set them up for life,” she said.
To support the rollout of the swimming voucher program, LSV is hosting webinars for both schools and the aquatics industry, to ensure kids can get back into pools as quickly as possible. To find out more about the meet a lifeguard program and mega beach days, reach out to email@example.com.
In recognition that swimming and water safety are a vital life skill that requires consistent development during childhood, Victorian Government primary, specialist and Catholic primary schools receive funding toward school swimming education each year.
However, with widespread lockdowns to slow the spread of COVID-19 since March 2020, many schools have been unable to facilitate swimming lessons for their students, resulting in missed lessons and regressed swimming skills.
More information available here: Splashing Back Into School Swimming Lessons | Premier of Victoria