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Open Water Learning Experience

Inland Waterways Education for Children

The Open Water Experience Program has been developed to provide primary schools and community groups with the opportunity to acquire relevant skills and knowledge to participate in recreational activities in our open water environments.

As children grow they become exposed to a range of recreational water activities including surfing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, water skiing, fishing etc. It is important that children

have the opportunity to develop foundation aquatic skills (swimming and survival) and acquire relevant knowledge pertinent to our open waterways.

Simulated open water activities present students of all ages with challenges to experience and explore within safer parameters. Open water activities challenge the ‘known’ and offer a better foundation to face the ‘unknown’. Simulating open water activities offers a broader base of knowledge and understanding that may just reduce risk, injury or death.

The Open Water Experience Program consists:

  • Online Program (with supporting Facilitator Guide) – teacher facilitated classroom experience

  • Risk Considerations for Schools and Community Groups Guide – provides coordinators with advice and considerations when planning and undertaking open water activities.

  • Open Water and Swimming Pool Activity Guide – some practical aquatic activities suitable for swimming pools and / or open water locations. (Please note: Schools should ensure they refer to education sector policy and procedures prior to undertaking any aquatic activities in an open water environment.)

Royal Life Saving NSW would recommend that students have the opportunity to undertake the activities identified in this guide (or alternative activities) in a swimming pool environment prior to visiting an open water environment. This will ensure that students are familiar with the intended activities and the skills required.

The activities developed provide students with key outcomes in the following areas:

  • Learning a range of survival strategies and techniques

  • Developing judgement in selecting the most suitable survival techniques

  • Learning the degree of risk in specific activities involving cold water, currents and waves

  • Developing aquatic skills that can be used in case of an emergency

  • The ability to use various buoyant aids and PFDs

  • Physical endurance.

By better understanding open water characteristics students are better placed to deal with the unexpected.

This program involves online activities (teacher facilitated) and pool and open water practical options. Optimum outcomes will be achieved if students complete

both online activities and in-water activities.

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