Chess : making a move in schools
Chess is one of the fastest-growing activities in Australian schools. Consider the figures: in 2002, the Chess Kids National Interschool Chess Championships involved 821 children. By 2007, there were more than 9,000 students taking part. That is an increase of more than 900 per cent in five years. Why? There are two reasons. First, chess appeals to children from diverse backgrounds and of all ages. Even those as young as four and five years are able to grasp the basic rules of the game and enjoy play. Second, it offers educational benefits that have been proven in research and are now being experienced by educators first-hand as schools across the country grow their own successful chess programs. Chess is not just another school sport, like teeball, netball or football. It does provide similar benefits, such as boosting self confidence, but it is all-inclusive, non-gender specific and, most importantly, a powerful tool for strengthening the mind. Chess, as an ongoing component of the curriculum, is truly an integrated activity that covers all key learning areas. It leads to improved performance in all fields of endeavour and develops life skills and attitudes that can often be difficult to teach. If educators want the best for children, then the teaching of chess has to be a serious consideration. [Author abstract, ed]
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