STILL LEARNING: Alpha's Tahlia McGrath loves her swimming lessons.
STILL LEARNING: Alpha's Tahlia McGrath loves her swimming lessons. Contributed

Lessons to save a life

IN A bid to kerb childhood drowning, a Central Highlands pool will be offering free swimming lessons for local children.

Management at Alpha War Memorial Pool have jumped on board the national Learn2Swim week initiative which is designed to remind everyone about the importance of water safety for children under five years of age.

Facility manager Danielle Taylor said they participate in the learn to swim and water safety initiative each year.

"We participate mainly so they (parents) can actually see what happens in a swimming lesson because most of our new parents don't understand the different benefits and the social aspect our children under five get,” she said.

"We see about 120 children between Alpha and Jericho, which is a big number considering the Alpha school only has 32 children and the Jericho school only has 14.

"So the majority of our kids are either under-fives on properties or School of the Air kids who come in for the social aspect.”

Ms Taylor said parents in rural areas sometimes "get complacent about how our children are actually exposed to water a lot more than children in towns or in the cities”.

"So all our families off the properties have dams, unfenced water ways, rivers creeks, water troughs, so they really value that extra water safety and that familiarisation that the little kids are getting from lessons,” she said.

"But we're quite lucky in Alpha, pretty much all of our parents in town and on the surrounding properties are already enrolled in swimming lessons, so basically, we see the same kids in learn to swim week as we do all year.”

As well as learning new skills, it also allows some of the younger children to see a large body of water for the first time in their lives.

"A lot of our under-fives, because we're in drought, wouldn't be exposed to water if they weren't coming to swimming lessons,” she said. "They don't know what the water is and the parents value that aspect as well.”

Learn2Swim Week will run from October 2-9, with children able to start lessons at Alpha War Memorial Pool from three-months old.


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