Water Safety in Early Childhood
While water can be fun, exciting, and educational it is potentially dangerous too and unfortunately in New Zealand our drowning statistics reflect this.
In New Zealand we see a significant number of preventable drowning fatalities within the under 5 year old age group. Most of these happen around the home environment, with almost half in home pools. There has also been an increase in drownings in environments outside, but close to the home, such as ponds, drains, farm troughs, creeks, and estuaries.
Inadequate supervision has been implicated in almost all childhood drownings in New Zealand and world-wide. As children become mobile, they begin to explore their surroundings, however their sense of curiosity and adventure is not matched by an understanding of the possible risks and dangers. Drowning is often silent, so unless the parent or caregiver is actively supervising, they may be unaware of the incident until it is too late.
One of the four key targets of the New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2020 is to reduce previous drowning fatalities of pre-school children to zero. Our education programmes improve understanding about water safety and the importance of supervision so that we can reduce the risk of drowning.
Education Programmes for Early Childhood
The majority of our education programmes and resources for parents/caregivers, educators and under 5s are free of charge. Where a cost is incurred it will be minimal and required to cover venue/pool costs.
Parents and Caregivers:
Drowning Prevention Education
‘Parents as first teachers’ for their children are able to capitalise on everyday activities as an ideal time to make connections to water safety in fun, meaningful and memorable ways for their under 5s. Parents and caregivers are also paramount to the safety of their under 5s in, on and near water.
The education provided will enable parents and caregivers to:
- Develop their own water competence knowledge, understanding and skills.
- Be more confident and skilled to provide essential water safety learning for their pre-school children, and to implement appropriate protective practices to keep their children safer in, on and near water.
- Experience fun and safe activities with their under 5s in frequently accessed water environments.
For more information on these programmes, download the brochure and enquire about programme availability.
Professional Learning and Development (PLD)
Professional learning and development for early childhood educators ensures the sustainability of water safety education for under 5s. If children are to retain important water safety messages learning opportunities need to be provided continuously over time.
The PLD provided will enable educators to gain knowledge and understanding of the water competence for drowning prevention and deepen their understanding of developmentally appropriate water safety learning for under 5s. This, together with the provision of resources, will support and enable ECE educators to confidently teach water safety to under 5s and provide water safety messaging for parents.
PLD can be provided for educators at individual centres or at a shared venue for a cluster of centres.
Water Safety Sessions
These fun, interactive and age appropriate sessions enable the children to:
- Understand why they need an adult beside them in, on and near water.
- Feel confident to ask an adult to stay with them around water.
- Learn about the importance of always wearing a correctly fitted lifejacket on a boat and when fishing.
If you would like your centre to participate in this programme please click the button to complete the booking form.
These resources are provided FREE to Early Childhood Centres, and to parents/caregivers who participate in the applicable education programmes provided.
Fishing with Papa
Fishing with Papa is a water safety education teaching resource for early childhood featuring important water safety advice for both children and their caregivers.