Yandeyarra infants make a splash

5 April 2016

The pool managers who work in our Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool project are making a long-term impact on the children and families who attend their pools, through the dedication and care they show for those in their communities. A great example of this has been seen at Yandeyarra recently, with Pool Manager Jacqui Forbes spending one on one time with parents and carers who bring their infants and toddlers to the pool.

The Royal Life Saving Infant Aquatics program provides infants and parents with shared experience in aquatics. The program uses a variety of songs, games and activities to ensure children experience a variety of skills to build confidence and introduce them to basic water skills including entries, floating, breathing and movement. Importantly the program allows parents to receive important water safety information whilst participating with the children. Last year 21,227 children participated in the Infant Aquatics program throughout Western Australia.

It can sometimes be difficult to encourage the parents in these communities to interact with their children in the water, so Jacqui Forbes says the approach here is very different to what may be the case in other areas. "When the parents and carers arrive at the pool and they look like they are in the mood I spend some time with them one on one and give them hints and tips based on the Infant Aquatics "Duck" stages.  I show them how to teach their children skills like holding on to the edge, water confidence, safely getting into the pool, no running and jumping and encouraging water and play skills."Toddlers in the pool with their mum at Yandeyarra

"We have a variety of cups, buckets and watering cans that the toddlers love, and we also have twin dolls which are very popular with the water play. We play crocodiles and go thru hoops, we blow bubbles and kick our feet to splash the parents.  The toddlers also love pushing around the kick boards and riding on our float mats.  It's a lot of fun." says Jacqui.

And it's not just about learning swimming and water safety skills, they're also being introduced to healthy eating through the Go For 2 and 5 Swim for Fruit program. Jacqui says "When the infants and toddlers are good in the pool and listen to what their parents and carers are asking them to do they receive a piece of fruit as a reward."

The Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools Project is proudly supported by the Department of Housing and Works, BHP Billiton Iron Ore and Healthway.