The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development and 2022 will mark the fourth year of this occasion. The theme for 2022 is “Change Course, Transforming Education” and it focuses on balancing our relationships with technology and education, as well as continuing the struggle for equity, inclusion and democratic participation in educational paths.
Miniature golf is a sport that is uniquely suited to fit with an educational program. A couple of years ago Minigolfnews ran a series on how miniature golf was being used in classrooms and throughout the year one can find articles highlighting the same. It can be used with nearly any age student from their earliest years in the classroom through college/university.
The versatility of miniature golf allows educators to use in a variety of ways, such as:
- Mathematics of angles on the course
- Physics of the ball traveling
- Engineering of structures (and even building putting robots!)
- Artistry of designs
- Promoting a variety of topics through course “theming” - history, science, local attractions, movies, and books to name a few
The education doesn’t stop in the classroom. Some miniature golf courses are built with education in mind as you can find them outside science centers, in botanical gardens and promoting such themes as dealing with climate change.
Laura Rice, a Pre-kindergarten teacher in the United States, was inspired to bring the sport to the classroom by a minigolf segment of the show “Smartest Guy in the Room”. Her son Randy, a competitive minigolfer himself, starred in the show.
“My challenge began with a group discussion - How can we create our own minigolf hole? What will we need?”
Answers from students included: grass, water, sand, golf club, golf ball, a hill/ramp and a tunnel. The students participated in all stages from the project from painting the box and gluing the turf to placing the obstacles and all of the accessories to go along with their theme.
She noted that the project brought with it a lot of educational benefits:
- Participation/contribution in group discussions and decisions
- Participation in all stages of creation, giving them ownership
- Taking turn and showing patience in waiting
- Sharing knowledge with others
- Hand-eye coordination
- Validation and celebration of their success
- Overall great way to build self-esteem
The WMF is excited to see minigolf applied in such a way early in children’s educational careers. With the accessibility of minigolf (a course can be made out of nearly anything at hand), the WMF are proud to be part of the movement to “unlock the potential in every person and contribute to the collective well-being and our shared home.”
Photo Credits: Laura Rice & A Couple of Putts