Elementary school students link life lessons with golf

This year more than 4,900 schools in 650 school districts will be introducing students across the country to the game of golf along with character education. It will be taught in regular physical education classes (K-5) using The First Tee National School Program curriculum. A component added last year includes health and wellness opportunities for students to learn about physical, social and emotional wellness.

According to a survey conducted earlier this year among 860 physical educators using the curriculum, 66 percent reported using The First Tee Nine Core Values in other sports and activities they teach beyond the National School Program. A third-party case study conducted in one Midwestern school district in 2011 further validated the program when administrators and physical educators reported finding great value in the program. Click here for more results on the survey and case study.

Some school districts in Phoenix, Houston and Tampa are now implementing The First Tee National School Program in a majority or all of the elementary schools.

“A program that aligns physical and health education with character training is a great fit for our students,” said Debbie Maronic, a district resource teacher for K-12 physical education and health education for Hillsborough County Public Schools, the eighth largest school district in the country. “The teachers find the program very effective and most of all the students enjoy it.”

Launched in 2004, The First Tee National School Program helps students develop an appreciation for the positive personal and social values associated with the game of golf. The students are engaged in safe and fun lesson activities that lead to motor skill development and presents students with an introduction to a lifelong recreation and health-enhancing activity.

“The National School Program continues to grow and the feedback we receive is very encouraging,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., chief executive of The First Tee. “The teachers delivering the program are doing a phenomenal job and ultimately the students benefit from being introduced to golf and the character and wellness activities alongside it.”

The curriculum was developed by The First Tee along with leading experts in physical education and positive youth development. It is aligned with and meets national standards developed by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Physical educators delivering the program are formally trained and certified by The First Tee and use safe, developmentally-appropriate lesson plans and equipment in their classes.

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