With the purpose of encouraging children to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle through a range of water sports, health and physical education advisor William Jephson has been teaching children aged from three to 13, how to swim.
He has been working with schools to boost the health and physical education curriculum strands through professional development and resourcing, and decided to continue running the swimming programme throughout the school holidays.
Jephson says it is important to give children the necessary safety and swimming skills so they are confident in their ability to participate in water sports.
“Being surrounded by water, Cook Islanders have a fantastic opportunity to use their environment to move towards a healthier and active lifestyle,” he said.
Jephson says there is no better place to be on hot days, than in the water, and the youngsters are loving it.
“A lot of the parents come into the water with their children and they seem to enjoy it as much as the children do.”
The children have learned everything from blowing bubbles in the water to the correct freestyle swimming technique.
“A large part of the programme is safety, so that all children can assess different situations in the water and respond correctly.”
Jephson said that confidence was a big factor for children learning to swim.
“Especially for the younger children, our aim is just to get them feeling confident in the water.
“Some children started off coming to the lessons feeling frightened to set foot in the water, but now they are confidently swimming.”
Bella Harrison, who has been attending the swimming programme, says she feels confident in the water and has learned many ways to help her swim better.
Yudita Szekely has been bringing her three-year-old granddaughter Maia to the swimming programme.
“She is so confident and happy being in the water, because the teacher is amazing.
“On Wednesday this week, we went to The Islander and Maia was swimming. There were six other local children there who didn’t know how to swim.
“Maia began to show them how to blow bubbles in the water and the different things she has learnt here at the swimming programme.”
Szekely says the swimming programme has been “a treasure” for her granddaughter.