Youngsters’ fear of water evaporates

A LEARN to swim program at Granville South Public School gave pupils with limited or no swimming skills confidence in the water this term.

Teacher Ruth Walker said there was a need for the program — which gives nonswimmers priority — as at the school’s last swimming carnival there were less than 20 pupils of about 250 who could swim 50 metres.

She said the cost of lessons could be prohibitive for larger families and though the Department of Education had a special swimming scheme, the two week program was not enough to teach children to swim.

Mrs Walker said many parents at the school, because of their cultural background, had never learned to swim and so were not confident about teaching their children to swim.

‘‘In six weeks all of the children have made amazing progress,’’ Ms Walker said.

‘‘We had children who didn’t want to go in the water up to their knees or put their face in the water to blow bubbles and now they’re comfortable doing so much more.

‘‘Obviously the stroke isn’t perfect, but the most important thing is that they can save themselves in deep water.

‘‘They’re really excited. They all ask if they can be involved next year as well.’’

The high cost of private buses compelled two teachers to drive the 15 students to lessons at Granville Pool during school sport time rather than abandon the program.

7-Eleven in Guildford, Laing + Simmons in Granville, Starr Partners in Merrylands, and The Good Guys in Auburn have each donated funds so that the program can expand to take 30 pupils in early 2014.

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