Younger students learn chess with White’s plan
MADISON – When she meets her goal, Dorinda White, Principal at Rainbow Elementary School, will have seen that each kindergartner, first-grader and second-grader has had a chance to learn to play chess.
During the last week of September, White launched a program at Rainbow to introduce chess to all students in grades K-2. “I have a strong belief that children learn through play. Chess provides so many opportunities for students to develop critical thinking skills and perseverance in solving problems,” White said.
“Even though chess may be considered a game, it is so much more. Students grow by learning the simple rules of the game and learning life skills such as teamwork, collaboration, respect and self-control,” White said.
When children have a chance during their formative years of schooling to learn chess, “we are laying a foundation that will benefit students and
teachers,” White said. “There is a strong carryover into the academic arena and being a well-rounded student.”
Creative scheduling is one tactic that White is using. “She hired former state chess champion Will Stevenson to come to Rainbow every day for four weeks,” Bartlett said. “Ms. White started by scheduling each first- and second-grade class to 30-minute daily lessons in the basics of how the pieces move.”
In addition, White scheduled computer time so the students could learn how to utilize their chesskid.com accounts that the school system provides for them.
After first- and second-graders learn how to play, Stevenson will begin teaching the kindergarten classes. Each class goes through initial training. Rainbow Chess Club provides game sets to each classroom to allow teachers to set up chess stations there.
“The Rainbow Chess Club has donated chess sets to teachers and chess books to the library in the past. It is very exciting to donate even more as interest grows,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett is proud of this approach to skill learning for chess players. “Any other principal in Madison could implement the same sessions for chess at their school,” Bartlett said.
Madison City Chess League’s mailing address is P.O. Box 843, Madison, AL 35758. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit madisonchess.com.