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Swimming lessons coming to schools.

"About 50 teachers and parents received Swimming New Zealand’s first level of teaching qualifications at a two-day course at the weekend run by New Zealand swimming coach Mark Saunders and the Cook Islands Aquatic Federation (CIAF).

Saunders is the director of Northern Arena which houses four pools and is New Zealand’s fastest growing swim school with one of the largest and best-equipped gyms in New Zealand.

Saunders was assisted in delivering the course on Saturday the 14th and Sunday 15th April by his daughter and Augustine Kopa. 

“I thought the course went extremely well,” says CIAF president Romani Katoa.

“Mark is a very effective communicator and delivered the context of the course in an understandable manner. He also helped with ‘introducing swimming into the school’ curriculum for when the next school term starts.”

Forty participants of the course were teachers from all schools on Rarotonga and one from Aitutaki.

“These teachers will be part of introducing and developing the swimming in school programme in schools.”

The swimming in school programme will start with new entrants (preschool) and year one and year two students from all Rarotonga schools and will run for seven weeks.

CIAF under the guidance of Augustine Kopa will be supervising each school’s swim session in conjunction with one or two of the recently ASTA certified teachers.

Katoa explains that each teacher will need to log 20 hours of lesson planning with Swimming New Zealand and a further two 30-minute video sessions of a lesson plan for NZQA accreditation.

CIAF will be administering this to ensure that all teachers meet the requirements and fully understand the planning involved. It is hoped that all teachers who attended the course will be able to log the 20-hour requirement and also achieve the NZQA accreditation before the end of next term and before the start of the next course later in the year.

“This way, we will have targeted all our young children at a very early age about water safety, swimming skills and breathing as well as the general understanding of the learn to swim programme,” says Katoa.

“We then will be introducing year three to year eight students followed by year nine to year 13 by the end of the year before the National Rarotonga School Swimming Championships in early December.”

Katoa says they’ve received a huge amount of positive feedback and will be conducting another course later in the year for teachers and parents who missed out this time round.

CIAF will be looking at conducting the same course in Aitutaki later in the year where over 40 people are expected to take part.

“It is important to introduce and accredit all outer islands teachers, schools and organisations associated with any water sports activities as part of the CIAF water safety and swimming development plans throughout the Cook Islands.”

CIAF would like to thank Mark Saunders, Chris Morgan of Swimming New Zealand and State Insurance for their generous support and commitment in introducing this course for the first time in the Cook Islands.  CIAF also thanks Ngaria Stephenson, Ian George and Ina Hermann from the Ministry of Education.