The First Move foundation provides educational chess lessons to school children all over the country, but it’s not a chess school. It actually operates no brick and mortar locations of its own, and the majority of its business is done online. The children benefiting from its program are taught by different coaches and teachers in school districts all over. How can this be? It’s all made possible by First Move’s unique business model.

First Move – A Unique Model for a Unique Mission

Unlike a typical chess school, First Move doesn’t concern itself with teaching its students directly – instead, on providing a program that can easily be incorporated into a classroom. This unique method ensures that all children receive the benefits of chess. The First Move program is designed to enable educators, teachers, and coaches with no prior chess experience to teach chess confidently in their classrooms. You don’t need any chess knowledge whatsoever to implement the program, it works the same whether you’re a Grandmaster or you’ve never seen a chess set before in your life. When you put it like that, it almost sounds too good to be true!

The First Move program is designed to enable educators, teachers, and coaches with no prior chess experience to teach chess confidently in their classrooms.

Who Educates the Educators?

First Move does, of course! Their programs are designed to be implemented in a classroom or after school setting. It can be implemented in almost any educational environment, from the public school classroom to an extracurricular after-school setting, or even in a homeschooling program. Wherever you have the impulse to use it, it can probably be utilized!

Each lesson follows the same basic structure – the children watch an instructional video in which The Chess Lady, the cartoon mascot of First Move, walks them through the subject of the day. After the lesson, they’ll have exercises to complete in each of their workshops, and after that, it’s time to play! Each exercise may seem difficult at first, to both the student and even the teacher, but as long as the student follows the given instructions, they will succeed. This built-in success keeps children motivated and builds their confidence, along with their skills, with each win.

First Move students at Embassy Creek Elementary

The consistency of the three-part system used in each lesson allows the students to know what to expect from each lesson, making it that much easier to digest. It also helps the teachers by supplying all of the education the students will need. While the teacher will be on hand to guide the learning experience and answer any questions, they don’t need to supply the actual lessons or lesson plans, which cuts down on their workload while still providing a top quality education experience to students. That’s a win-win!

Student Experience with First Move

The First Move lessons are optimized for group learning in virtually any environment. In the classroom, at a church group, after school, or even in a group homeschooling environment, these lessons will guide students of all skill levels through the key concepts each week, with no one being left behind.

That being said, the lessons are quite uniform, and they don’t leave much room for individualization. This program provides a good baseline chess education, as well as broader benefits such as cross curricular elements, critical thinking development, and fostering creativity.