Lifestyle & Fun

3 year olds learning to play chess at school

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

There is more proof that you're never too young to learn anything, even chess.

There is a program in New York teaching the game to children as young as 3 years old!

It may not look like it but these 3 and 4 year olds are learning a game many adults can't figure out.

"We had parents say they were sitting down and playing a fledgling game of chess with their children," said Bill Swan, the Goddard School owner.

At the Goddard School it's now part of the curriculum, with a twist.

Traditionally you learn the game by memorizing which pieces move where, but here teachers instead draw students in by telling captivating fairytales, with colorful characters.

"When they know the King is big and heavy and can only move one square at a time, that's how they remember it, not that they memorized the way a piece moves, they remember a story," Swan said. Well that king, Amanda explains he's the father who has children.

Those would be the pawns.

The group is then captivated by the story of clip clop, two horses who were trying to get over a huge brick wall, so they could eat grass that tastes like lettuce.

Amanda tells them, all of a sudden Earl the Squirrel shows up and explains they have to do a special dance to get over the wall.

"He hopped off the tree and said gallop, gallop, step to the left can you say that?" asked Amanda Snatchko, Goddard School chess teacher.

Not only do they repeat it but get up and act it out and then, connect the dots.

"It's about building up their mind, strengthening their minds so they can see problem solving skills and it will help them in other subjects because their brains are being flexed like you would with a muscle," Snatchko said.

The goal during this series of 20 classes is not to make the kids competitive chess players, but rather develop a love for the game.

"They'll see chess as the fun wonderful activity and they'll be gravitating towards it as opposed to baffled by it," Swan said.

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Tags:
new york city, children, lifestyle & fun, kemberly richardson
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