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Responsible practices

Possible learning activities

  • Take students to visit local aquatic environments. If possible, take photographs of each environment. On their return, students can identify, illustrate, and write about the hazards of each aquatic environment and how to avoid them (1D4).
  • Using either a still or a video camera, record details of the pool or open water venue as a basis for a class discussion on responsible safe practices. This could then be translated onto a map. Students could include cut-outs of safety equipment, lifeguards, water depth, and changing/showering facilities.
  • Through class discussion, students can identify and chart the rules for safe and hygienic practices when at the pool (1A3).
  • Before students go to the pool, they could practice movement patterns around cones or soft drink containers in the classroom or school grounds so that students know how to move quickly to set locations.

Assessment opportunity

Develop a class or partner based checklist with rules for hygienic pool practices (1A3).

Health promotion

Develop the skills to identify and accept responsibility for safe behaviour in an aquatic environment.

Socio-ecological perspective

Recognising the need for shared responsibility between self and others.

Teachers’ Notes

These experiences help students to develop self-discipline and encourage them to take increasing responsibility for their own actions and decisions (self-management skills).

These suggested learning experiences are not intended to replace practical aquatic sessions, but they may occur before, or be concurrent with, physical activity in the water. Maximum use should be made of the availability of water-based facilities.

The following points need to be considered when planning initial aquatic experiences for young students.

  • When using a swimming pool, teachers should ensure that students visit the toilet before entering the water. Students should not swim for two weeks after an illness, such as diarrhoea. Swimwear and any additional clothing worn in the pool should be checked for cleanliness.
  • Adequate supervision of the changing area is necessary to ensure that students display sensitivity to such aspects as body shape and size, medical conditions, clothing, and cultural preferences.
  • Prepare a class chart showing water depth relative to individual students. Although there is an element of sensitivity in this activity, it does show each student exactly where the water level will be when they stand on the bottom of the pool.
  • Invite a member of the community swimming pool staff to visit the classroom and discuss acceptable behaviour at the pool.
  • Create realistic simulation exercises that illustrate appropriate safety behaviour.
  • Prepare a class booklet about students’ thoughts on safe practices for each student to photocopy and take home with information about the aquatic sessions.
  • Students often display apprehension before entering the water. This is not the most appropriate time for lengthy discussions on pool rules, but teachers should:
    • give students an indication of water depth
    • set acceptable boundaries
    • show students the location and use of safety equipment.

Both adult supervision and the use of a buddy programme are essential.

  • It is not advisable to use natural water environments for this age level. However, if a swimming pool is not readily available, teachers should refer to the school’s outdoor education policy to ensure both student and environmental safety.