Islamic College students Swim and Survive

25 August 2016
Students from the Australian Islamic College in Thornlie will soon learn vital Swim and Survive skills for the very first time, through Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Access and Equity program.

185 students from Pre-Primary to Grade 3 will take part in ten lessons, over a two week period from Monday 29th August.

The students will attend Gosnells Leisure World, where lessons will be conducted by trained professional swim instructors, following the Swim and Survive curriculum.

The Swim and Survive program is a broad and balanced program teaching a range of skills and knowledge to develop swimming, water safety, survival and basic rescue skills. It seeks to increase the swimming and water safety skills of all Australian children in order to prepare them for safe participation in aquatic activity and prevent drowning.

Ahead of the program the children have this week received their Swim and Survive packs to ensure they’ll have the goggles, towel, swim cap and bag needed to be ready for their lessons!

Recent data shows 18 children aged 5-14 years drowned in our state between 2003 and 2013. Over the same period there was a 30% increase in the number of non-fatal drowning incidents with 85 children hospitalised. 22% of these children were from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

The reality is, in many communities, a swimming and water safety education is simply not accessible, with children from low socio-economic areas, Indigenous communities, CaLD backgrounds and those who live in regional or remote locations most likely to miss out because of a lack of access and social or economic disadvantage. There is an added complication for children from Islamic backgrounds, especially for the girls who must adhere to strict guidelines related to modesty in dress standards, which can be a challenge in a swimming pool environment.

Royal Life Saving has worked to ensure these girls have access to girls only classes in an effort to address this issue.

In order to prevent drowning tragedies in these communities, every Australian child, no matter what their background, must have basic swimming and water safety skills, and knowledge of how to be safe when they are in, on, or around the water.

This program with the Australian Islamic College students aims to make an impact, by ensuring these children have an opportunity to learn these vital skills before another Spring and Summer season arrives. 

The Swim and Survive Access and Equity program is supported by the Office of Multicultural Interests and the Department of Sport and Recreation.