Several of our classes have undertaken educational trips focused on water safety and the development of water confidence. With countless kilometers of coastline and numerous rivers, estuaries, harbours and inlets in New Zealand, our exposure to water is inevitable! This is reflected in the NZ Curriculum’s Health and Physical Education learning strand in which ‘it is expected that all students will have had opportunities to learn basic aquatic skills by the end of Year 6’.
Years 5 and 6 recently spent two days at the Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC) at Long Bay learning new skills on both land and water. The children got to engage in physically challenging water activities such as surfing, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding. Land-based activities such as archery contributed to an overall programme designed to build their teamwork and problem-solving skills.
Years 7 and 8 children took part in the 2-day Waterwise programme, run at the Oraki basin by Youthtown. This programme builds on the skills they develop at MERC. The students have the opportunity to be more autonomous, further developing their skills in the longer session times allocated to kayaking, sailing and windsurfing. Day 2 allows them to specialise further in two of these activities in addition to stand-up paddle boarding.
These water-focused activities offered students a different educational experience to that they receive in the classroom. This allowed different attributes in each student come to the fore, allowing them to adopt different roles to those they may demonstrate in the classroom.