Common Misconceptions about School Programs

By National Master Evan Rabin

We currently serve 80+ schools and no two contracts look alike. We customize programs based on on schools’ current chess cultures, interests, goals, budgets, etc. Last week I spoke to several hundred educators from all around the world at our The Montessori Event exhibit. These are three common misonceptions about school programs that I heard as I spoke to principals, teachers and other types of educators:

  1. Generally, kids aged 3+ can learn chess. Several directors and teachers told me “Our kids are too young for chess”. Each time I asked them how many students aged 3+ do they have and they said quite a bit. We currently serve pre-school and Pre-K students at several clients, including Waterfront Montessori and Staten Island Academy. We also have many 4 and 5-year olds at all of our torunaments. 
  2. Several told me their schools currently run chess programs. Each time I asked if they have an outside instructor teaching program or if it is facutly led. A faculty member watching a few kids play chess once per week is NOT a program. Teachers should continue running clubs in schools; that is why we offer professional development, helping those teachers facilitate clubs. Schools can use more help if they want to take it to the next level and have some budget.
    Several of our programs have originated from faculty led clubs. In some cases, students did not all the rules about castling, en passant, checkmate vs stalemate, etc. We make sure they know all of the correct rules and then teaching them some basic strategy to get them ready to compete in tournaments.
  3. Several educators visited booth and immediately told me they would foward my information to their after-school director. Many of our programs are curriclum classes and electives during the school day. Few young children will state they want to learn chess if they are not exposed to it. Most of students in curriculum classes enjoy the game and many want to take it to the next level, joining after-school club and preparing for tournaments. 

15 thoughts on “Common Misconceptions about School Programs”

  1. Wow! This is so well written, and so accurate. There is definitely a difference between a professional chess teacher like the kind of work at Premier and the math teacher who gets a few extra dollars for directing the chess program but doesn’t really make any effort to learn beyond what’s in his book

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