During the years 2017–2019, the Lithuanian Children and Youth Center (LCYC) in cooperation with Arcada University of Finland, Nord University of Norway, Latvian Swimming Federation and Lithuanian Swimming Federation implemented the international project “AQUATIC LIFE”, conducted under the NordPlus Horizontal program. The “AQUATIC LIFE” project focused on strengthening the Nordic-Baltic cross-sectoral cooperation in the field of swimming teaching and water safety education for children in order to develop the quality of water competency education and contribute to better drowning prevention in both Baltic and Nordic countries.
The project has produced a practical manual “Toolkit on Water Competence Development” aimed at swimming teachers and coaches working with children and youth. The Toolkit includes information and practical tips for teachers on the following topics: pedagogical aspects of swimming teachers work, water basics training, safe rescue skills, water survival skills training, safety aspects concerning swim teachers and swim coach skills, knowledge, and competence, additional safety aspects concerning swimming pool management in general. The toolkit is freely available online in Lithuanian, Latvian and English languages.
The material has been tested in practice during the trial program in the Lithuanian and Latvian swimming pools. The material has also been introduced to other swimming pools across Lithuania and Latvia. It is expected that this practical manual for swimming educators has a potential to improve swimming teachers understanding of water competency and water safety training, contributing to improving the quality swimming teaching and improving water safety.
During the project, 24 swimming teachers participated in two days of practical training, October 22–23, 2018, developing their practical skills in teaching swimming and water safety. During the training, we presented the project objectives and the Toolkit publication was introduced to the participants.
From January 1 to May 30, 2019, 360 pupils of different age from Lithuania and Latvia took part in the program that consisted of a total of 12 hrs of practical learning activities for each group. The toolkit was improved based on the feedback and proposals received from the teachers after this piloting stage.
The Toolkit, project goals and the experience of project partners in the field of drowning prevention were presented during the practical conference which took place in Vilnius, on June 12, 2019. A total of 81 participants attended the conference: administrations of the swimming pools, swimming coaches, swimming instructors, the representatives of municipalities and of their public health offices from Lithuania and Latvia, project partners from Finland and Norway. The event helped to discuss the ideas for improving swimming teaching programs.