Martu kids build swimming and lifesaving skills

29 November 2021

Children from the Martu Education Centre (MEC) in the Pilbara town of Newman have been loving their swimming lessons this term!

Martu kids practising reach rescues with pool noodlesThe children have been participating in a Swim and Survive program at Newman Aquatic Centre, building their swimming and water safety skills as well as their confidence around water. They have also been practising important lifesaving techniques during their lessons, including using pool noodles to perform reach rescues of their peers.

After the lessons, the children swim a few additional laps of the pool as part of the Go For 2 & 5 Swim for Fruit program. The program is an expansion of the Swim and Survive lessons in regional Aboriginal communities and offers a healthy afternoon tea of fresh fruit as a reward for swimming a requisite number of laps. Swim for Fruit is supported by Healthway and encourages a healthy, active lifestyle through physical activity and healthy food choices.

“It has been lovely to see their growth,” says Virginia (Ginny) McMaster, MEC Program Coordinator and teacher at South Newman Primary School. Ginny has been spearheading the program for the centre for several years to promote greater water safety education among the children. 

Martu children enjoying some fruit at Newman Aquatic Centre“The children continue to build on water and lifesaving skills which are especially important as we come into the summer holidays. They also enjoy tasting the variety of fruit being offered after their lessons.”

The lessons have been made possible thanks to Principal Community Partner BHP, which supports both the MEC and Royal Life Saving WA's Swim and Survive Access and Equity program which facilitates the lessons. The MEC is an initiative of the Polly Farmer Foundation, supporting Martu families with students in Years 1 to 6 at Newman and South Newman primary schools.

Learn more about the programs supported by BHP to promote safe aquatic activity in towns across Western Australia at the link below.

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