Watery classroom teaches students safety

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 05/03/2014
Ally Te Pau Konui
ROBERT CHARLES/FAIRFAX NZ
Splashing time: Ally Te Pau Konui, 11, of Bell Block School, negotiating the rapids at the Meeting of the Waters yesterday.

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Bell Block students lapped up a river rush during a session on water safety yesterday.

About 30 pupils were at Topec, the outdoor pursuits and education centre, learning water safety as part of the KiwiSport Be River Safe Programme.

Yesterday's session was the second one for the school, after one for 25 students on Monday.

Children were taught key messages such as recognising their limits, looking after one another and the importance of knowing the river.

River safety co-ordinator Mark Dickie said it was about teaching students how to identify hazards and safe spots when in the river.

Mr Dickie also said it equipped children with skill sets they could use in tricky situations.

Pupil Ally Te Pau Konui said she enjoyed the whole experience, while schoolmate Olivia Stewart said she "learned lots" about keeping safe.

Serenity Pihama said the day was "such an awesome experience" while Kyle Mepham said it was "awesome".

Bell Block teacher Don Freebairn-Read said the river safety programme was an extension of the school's swimming curriculum.

Kiwis lived close to the water so it was important to be water-wise, he said.

This is the last year of KiwiSport's three-year funding of the programme, which has allowed close to 500 students to take part in the river safety activity so far.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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