First Move is taught in the classroom so ALL children benefit from the valuable thinking and life skills taught in the program. Each weekly lesson takes about 50 minutes to complete and reinforces core subjects.
Students learn to analyze, plan, and execute on the chessboard and in life. Learning to focus, think ahead, work through a multi-step problem and collaborate are important skills in all environments.
The lessons are taught using video and are designed so teachers don’t need to know how to play chess to be successful. Students are engaged and actively participate in activities, without realizing how much they are learning.
It’s not about Kings, Queens and Rooks; but rather quadrants, coordinates, analysis and planning. First Move is targeted to the academic standards of second and third graders, although it can be used with 4th graders as well.
Students (and teachers) may think an activity looks difficult, but if they follow the directions, they will “win.” This helps develop confidence to take on challenges in other subjects.
First Move is cross-curricular with ties to math, reading, history and science. We are endorsed by the National STEM Coalition. The skills learned extend beyond school as well; like good sportsmanship, respect, fairness and patience.
First Move increases aptitude in both math and reading across all sub-groups.
Smith and Sullivan, 1997
Chess education has a substantial positive effect on analytical thinking skills which are important in math, engineering, and the physical sciences. The impact was particularly strong among girls.
The visible effect of these processes is a transfer of chess ability to higher attention and problem solving ability that led to an appreciable increase in mathematics skills of the children.
Children who learn chess at an early age achieve more in the maths and sciences. Chinese, European and American research all find significant correlation of values after just one year of systematic chess exposure. The most striking benefits are those associated with problem solving and creativity.