Thursday, 25 February 2010

Chess in School

For 2010, Amaroo School (in Canberra, ACT) has added chess to the school curriculum. Each 3,4 and 5 grade classes (250+ kids in total) has 1 hour of chess per week one of its regular subjects. The classes are run in a specialised chess classroom, which is fitted out with sets, posters and will soon have a smart-board system installed. The classes are taught by one of the schools teachers, who has put together a chess course for the year.
The school is also running 2 lunchtime chess clubs (one for primary school and the other for high school) and are getting 60+ children to each session.
Of course the aim of the program isn't just to get more kids playing chess (although that is always a nice goal to achieve) but to also use chess as a tool to improve the educational outcomes of the school's students. At the school's Parent Information evening, the listed benefits of the program included improved concentration and problem solving skills, as well as better memory and strategic thinking.
Hopefully the program will produce masses of happy, smart, chess playing kids (including my daughter) and that its success will encourage other schools in Canberra to implement similar programs.

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