Elementary school students at Walker Elementary in Canton Local School District, Taft Elementary in the Plain Local School District and Jackson-Milton Elementary in Mahoning County will be introduced to the basic skills of golf along with character and health education in their physical education program. It will be taught by physical educators using safe, fun lesson plans provided in The First Tee National School Program curriculum. The health activities were recently added for students to learn about physical, social and emotional wellness.
Nationwide, more than at 8,000 schools in 1,200 school districts have introduced to The First Tee National School Program. There are currently 23 schools offering it in Stark County and now 1 location in Mahoning County.
Launched in 2004, The First Tee National School Program helps students develop an appreciation for the positive personal and social values associated with golf. Students engage in safe, fun lesson activities that lead to motor skill development and while gaining an introduction to a lifelong recreation and health-enhancing activity.
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 Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE). 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.
The lesson plans include The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits, which were developed in partnership with the ANNIKA Foundation and Florida Hospital for Children.
According to a survey among 860 physical educators using The First Tee National School Program curriculum, 66 percent reported using The First Tee Nine Core Values—character education seamlessly delivered as part of the program—in other sports and activities they teach beyond golf. 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.