“Fore!” It’s just as likely you’ll hear that familiar golf exclamation as a coach’s whistle in physical education class at Barnstable United Elementary. That’s because students are preparing their annual “First Tee” golf event.
Barnstable United Elementary School is in its fifth year with The First Tee, a national program that has introduced more than seven million children to the game of golf and its inherent values since 1997.
Teaching Nine Core Values
The First Tee program is designed to impact the lives of students by providing educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values learned through the game of golf.
The Core Values of The First Tee are:
Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment.
Nancy Brunswick, Health and Physical Education teacher at Barnstable United, tells us that, “Each lesson in the First Tee program enhances one or more of the Nine Core Values and helps establish a lifelong positive impact on our 4th and 5th graders.”
Ms. Brunswick reports that Barnstable United focuses on one of the Nine Core Values each month.
The First Tee at Barnstable United
We’ll let Ms. Brunswick tell the school’s First Tee story in her own words.
This is year five of the program at our school. Initially, the program was funded by the fundraising activities of Meg Drude PE Dept. Chair) and Michael Sarney (PE teacher). It began as a unit of study in physical education classes.
Here at Barnstable United Elementary School, we focus on each one of the nine core values per month. In the past, we announced a famous quote or personal story each day at morning announcements, and would often have the students create their own “quote” or story. This year, we have emphasized classical music in the mornings, so we discuss the nine core values on the first day of every month.
Three years ago, Mr. Dick Aliberti of the Barnstable Golf Advisory Committee approached me with an idea. He took several of us to Everett, MA to watch an event that they ran regarding The First Tee. I was off and running....
Independent research reported national First Tee program’s website reports significant success in instilling positive life skills and core values in children who participate in the program. Highlights of this research include:
Participants unanimously identified school as a setting in which they transferred life skills
Largest First Tee Event in the Country
Barnstable United Elementary offers one of the most successful First Tee program in the nation. Indeed, this month’s “First Tee Event” on May 23rd has 144 children competing in their very own golf tournament. Ms. Brunswick says this is the largest First Tee event in country. “Each of our 36 classrooms has 4 student players to represent the class,” she reports.
Children were selected for the program because of the consistency with which each demonstrates the Nine Core Values that the program emphasizes. “There certainly are many more than 4 children deserving in each class, however we can only accommodate a certain number. This is a very difficult decision, as the children place a great deal of pride in these selections.”
Each child competing in the May 23rd tournament, held in the BUES gymnasium, will sport a First Tee t-shirt. The top team has their name engraved on a large trophy. The top 4 teams each receive a trophy and the next 14 teams in medals.
Lifestyle Sports as Phys Ed
The First Tee program is a fine example of a growing emphasis of “lifestyle sports” in school physical education programs. A golf activity is appropriate for children of all athletic abilities and is something at which many kids who are not otherwise known for athletic prowess can succeed.
First Tee’s “Code of Conduct” provides excellent esteem-building tools for all students and emphasizes “respect for myself, respect for others and respect for my surroundings.”
The First Tee tournament at Barnstable United will be held on May 23rd with fourth graders competing at 8:40 a.m. and fifth graders competing at 12:15 p.m.
See the national program here.
See the Barnstable chapter here.