KARI recently received crucial funding to implement a pilot program called the Parents and Bub’s Swimming Program (PBSP). This will teach Aboriginal children/infants, years 0-3, how to swim.
This PBSP is designed to run for up to 10 weeks each school term, four times a year. Each class will run for 30 minutes, once a week after school hours. The target is to accommodate up to 20 children per term, for four terms, every year; this will teach up to 80 Aboriginal children and infants to swim each year.
The demographic the PBSP is aiming for is Aboriginal mothers and/or fathers living in South West Sydney (Liverpool, Fairfield, Bankstown) with Aboriginal children aged six months to three years of age, who are not engaged in other KARI programs.
KARI has specifically chosen these ages because children learning to swim who are aged 0-3 are required to have a parent present while participating in the class, which allows the parents to engage in the swimming program with their children.
The program will be held at the Michael Wenden Leisure Centre in Cabramatta, managed by Belgravia Leisure.
The first day of classes, the swimming instructor will begin with an assessment of each participant based on the stage each child/infant is at in regards to water safety and swimming. This assessment will continue for the entire term and is continued in each class. The activities and instructions are based on the stage the child/infant is at in their swimming. Once they have reached a certain stage (e.g. closing mouth when underwater), the instructor can move onto the next stage of teachings. By the end of the term, each child and parent receives a full assessment of the term and their progress. The Leisure Centre has offered further classes if the parent wishes to continue with the swimming lessons.
Parents will also conduct a pre and post-test survey for the term for KARI’s evaluation purposes. The pilot program is modeled off KARI’s Learn to Swim Program. This program is now in high demand in the community and has an active waiting list. It focuses on teaching Aboriginal children ages 4-16 years how to swim. Running successfully since 2015, it is also held at the Michael Wenden Leisure Centre in Campbelltown for Aboriginal children living in South West Sydney (Liverpool, Fairfield, and Bankstown).
The Parents and Bub’s Swimming Program (PBSP) aims to reduce drowning deaths in high-risk populations, a goal from the Australian Water Safety Strategy.
The PBSP will produce long term sustainable outcomes is by:
- Building relationships with the families who participate
- Offering further swimming classes via Learn to Swim Program to help children learn further and become strong swimmers
- Showcasing a stall at KARI’s annual Unity Day regarding water safety to raise awareness to the community to help prevent drowning accidents
- Offering the swimming assessments to the families to provide families with information on what skills need improvement
This program aims to address the rates of Aboriginal child/infant related drownings in NSW. KARI plans to combat this by providing an environment where children and infants can learn to swim. Even enhance and build their current swimming capability. The aim is also to increase parents and children’s water safety awareness while increasing their confidence in the water.