At the heart of all Chess in the Schools programming is the chess instruction. The School Program teaches chess to students in elementary and middle schools as part of their academic school day. This program has been in existence for more than twenty years during which Chess in the Schools has taught more than 500,000 students to play chess.
This year, the 2016-2017 school year, Chess in the Schools will teach 11,000 students in 44 Title I schools through the School Program.
Each third-grade classroom and sixth-grade classroom in participating schools is assigned a Chess in the Schools trained instructor. The instructor teaches an hour-long chess lesson once a week in five classrooms during the school day in the fall semester and in five different classrooms in the spring semester. Each instructor teaches 250 to 300 students in each school during the year. Lessons are scheduled on the same day and time each week, and classroom teachers often remark that attendance is highest on “chess day.”
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The After-School Chess Club meets once a week for two hours throughout the academic year. Every school in our program has an After-School Club, and all students in each participating school are eligible to join the Club. Through the Club, students are introduced to advanced chess concepts and receive personalized attention.
Particularly in schools and neighborhoods where few good after-school alternatives are available, our Clubs provide a safe, social setting that is ideal for the full realization of chess’ educational and developmental benefits.
Chess instructors may be the first adults the children have known who are consistently encouraging and supportive of their efforts to succeed academically and socially. Because our Clubs are open to students throughout their public-school education, many students and their instructors work together over several years and develop a strong bond, which is an immeasurable benefit of our program.