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The start of something extraordinary

Hawkes Bay school gets behind student's learn to swim journey

Sherenden and Districts School in Hawkes Bay believe swimming is a life skill and are helping one of their students with identified learning needs (ORS) on his journey to learn to swim.

Archie, a year 7 student, joined the school earlier this year and when he arrived he was unable to put his face in the water, let alone float.

The school has always had a strong swimming programme, using the State Kiwi Swim Safe programme, and have strived to instil basic aquatic skills within its students.

Principal Leonie Egan believed Archie needed to be taught the basics such as floating before he reached high school.

Over the first term at school, Egan hopped in the water with him to try and support him. With English being Archie’s second language visual teaching was highly useful.

As part of the support the school is giving to Archie, they are paying for him to attend one on one swimming lessons at Bev Mitchell Swim School in Meeanee, Napier.

The benefits to Archie are not only learning to float, which is a real safety issue in New Zealand, but the development of motor skills, strength, use of muscle, long term health and well-being and his own self confidence- being able to participate with his peers in a normal lifestyle.

As a rural school, the trip to and from the pool is around 70km which they do every week to support Archie. Together Swimming New Zealand and Sherenden and Districts School are looking for ways to make this sustainable so that Archie can continue on his learn to swim journey.