Kids learn to be safe in water

Tione Bastmeijer teaches children how to swim in the Ready4Life swimming programme at Summerwood Primary
Tione Bastmeijer teaches children how to swim in the Ready4Life swimming programme at Summerwood Primary
Image: Judy de Vega

Summerwood Primary School pupils were the first to experience the Ready4Life swimming school programme which teaches children about swimming and how to be safe in the water.

Besides wanting pupils to be able to handle themselves in water, the programme also aims to recognise potential talent.

Ready4Life is a non-profit organisation in Port Elizabeth that deals with various projects centred on education.

Ready4Life volunteer Wierian Speijers said they had been at Summerwood Primary for 10 weeks and Friday was their last session with the children.

“We organised this project to teach children how to swim and to be safe in the water. A total of 134 children participated at Summerwood.

“Children were scared at first, but now they get [into the water] freely and are also able to go underwater,” he said.

Managing director Jacco Wolters said they wanted to introduce the programme to schools in and around Nelson Mandela Bay, getting township schools involved.

“What we have seen in township schools is that kids do not have the opportunity to learn how to swim,” he said.

“Summerwood gave us the freedom to actually test our programme, which had already been developed over two years. Now we have a broad programme on which we can write our manuals.”

Summerwood principal William Foaden said Ready4Life had helped pupils to overcome their fear of water and given them confidence.

“It has been a joy for the school to have had these dedicated professionals to provide a specialised view of swim coaching,” he said.

“They have trained children who were scared of water to show them that water can be a joyful activity and to work with water in a responsible way.

“We hope [to] have someone who will take over the programme now that the volunteers have left.”

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