Lessons going swimmingly: school and gym unite to get kids in the pool

WHILE Orange City Council  staff will sit down with school principals and work out a method of free entry to the Aquatic Centre, Bowen Public School and Fitness Perfection representatives have already brokered a partnership to cut the costs of teaching children to swim.

Children are admitted free to the pool at the facility and owner Paul Davidson says this is nothing new.

“We have had free entry for the children for swimming lessons for many years,” he said.

This week a group of infants school students from Bowen Public School, who just a few weeks ago were terrified of the water, are basking in their new found water confidence skills.

Indigenous sports development officer with the Department of Sport and Recreation Jason French said funding was sourced through the department initially for indigenous children to pay for swimming tutors.

“But we saw a need to open the sessions up to all children at the school to give everyone an opportunity to learn to swim,” he said.

Swimming co-ordinator at Fitness Perfection Theresa Fields said it was gratifying to watch the young children grow in confidence at their lessons conducted throughout term one.

“At first they were so scared and hanging on to their swimming instructors and now they are just so confident,” she said.

Mr French, said he hopes the lessons and skills learned by the students in years 1, 2 and 3 at the school will be able to be extended with more lessons later in the year.

“Now we’ve introduced the children to the water and they’ve gained more confidence it would be great to be able to be able to reinforce their news skills they’ve learned,” he said.

Bowen acting principal Robert McPherson said the swimming program for the infants school children is focused on developing each student’s competence and confidence across a broad range of aquatic skills.

“Students attempt to master increasingly complex skills, while at the same time experience feelings of success and enjoyment,” he said.

“They will gain lifelong skills that they can apply in games, physical education programs, sports programs, community-based sport, leisure and recreation programs with confidence and competence.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said the swimming program at Fitness Perfection is just one of several community partnerships developed by Bowen Public School staff to enhance learning experiences for students.

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