Dear Early Learning and Care Educator,
For all children, it has been a year with swimming pools closed and without swimming lessons. With summer weather on the way, it is more important than ever that we encourage all children to think and talk about water safety.
Water Safety Ireland has launched a water safety resource to over 4,000 Early Learning and Care Centres nationwide. Educators will use the resources to give children the knowledge needed to stay safe from drowning. The ‘Hold Hands’ programme, launched by Ministers Heather Humphreys and Roderic O’Gorman has been built around one very simple insight. That a young child should always hold an adult’s hand near water.
ABOUT THE HOLD HANDS PROGRAMME
The ‘Hold Hands’ resources have been designed by WSI to highlight potential water safety dangers at home, on farms, on the beach, at rivers, lakes and on holiday. Storyboards grab children’s imagination and include a cleverly designed pointer, shaped like a hand, so whenever a child engages in water safety learning, they are physically holding a hand to reinforce the behavioural change the lessons are trying to instil.
HOW HOLD HANDS WAS BORN
In August 2019, Amanda Cambridge’s son Avery Greene tragically drowned in a swimming pool accident. Learn more about the inspiration behind the Hold Hands programme here.
“Our world was turned upside down on the 12th of August 2019, while on holidays in Spain. Our blonde, blue eyed boy, Avery, lost his life in a swimming pool accident. He was 3 years old. That’s why I’m an advocate for early learning water safety in pre-schools, creches and all Early Learning Centres. I believe Water Safety Ireland’s ‘Hold Hands’ programme has the potential to be both lifesaving and life changing.” – Amanda Cambridge
REACTION TO THE HOLD HANDS PROGRAMME
“It is never too early to start learning how to be safe around water. It complements Water Safety Ireland’s education resources for primary schools and is part of a wider effort to foster a healthy respect for water safety as children grow. This ‘whole of life’ approach to water safety has the potential to change the attitudes and behaviours of children around water and save so many lives in the process.” – Minister Heather Humphreys
“Children are born learning. That’s what is so exciting about this initiative. By instilling simple water safety lessons in our youngest children at this formative stage, we’re building an awareness that will stay with them for life.” – Minister Roderic O’Gorman