The MiniChessTM program was developed over years of teaching chess to “entry phase” learners (gr.1/R to gr.3, i.e. 5/6 to 8 years of age) as part of the school curriculum. It has already been used on a trial basis, with great success, at a number of schools in SA.
- It is organized into i) Structured lessons, with ii) Detailed lesson plans in the Teacher’s Manuals and attractive iii) Project Books for the learners.
- The program uses tried and tested methods for teaching through play, including the use of so-called “MiniChessTM” games. The learning process is broken down into small steps, building confidence while keeping it fun, and is in line with the skills level of the young child at that specific age, like colouring, cut and paste, shape recognition, simple pattern recognition, a little bit of writing, etc. in the case of 6 year olds (grade 1). The program consists of 4 levels (grade R, level 1, level 2 and level 3), each level accommodating the continual development of skills and capacity as the child grows. The program continually links chess concepts with maths-, science- and life skills. (See attached lists of Syllabus Contents.)
Teachers: “Entry phase” teaching is a specialized field of education. The program makes use of a specialist teacher, who receives ongoing training in the practical use of the Manuals, equipment and Project Books: it usually takes about 4 hours per term for teachers, for feedback and training, to optimize utilization of the comprehensive and user friendly Manuals and equipment.
It adds to the skills level of the educator, who is accredited after completion of the MiniChessTM training course, and will be able to write Chessa’s 1st level Chess Organizer’s Exams (optional). The fact that the program is economical (time and money wise), is a big advantage.
Learners: The work sheets in the Project Book can be used for assessment of learners, and even for academic report cards at the school. The program is well adapted to be used by schools in such a manor. After completion of each grade the child receives a certificate of recognition.
As all grade 1/R to 3 learners in participating schools will benefit academically and also learn to play chess, they will also be registered with Chessa and can write the Chessa 1st level Scholars Exam (optional) at the end of the program. Apart from the academic and life skills benefits,this program has the potential to grow the player base of chess players in the school significantly, and also identify talented players at a young age.
Schools: Participating schools will benefit from this program, as it is a proven fact that MiniChessTM exercises and develops intelligence, thinking skills, creativity, memory, etc. and builds a good foundation for learning maths, science and life skills amongst all learners. The fact that the program is economical (time and money wise), is a big advantage.
A word of thanks for advice, ideas and information in compiling this program, goes to all the educators and learners who encouraged and inspired us, as well as GM Garry Kasparov-who endorses the MiniChessTM program.