A parent volunteered to come to our Afternoon Academic class (our 4-6 year olds who don’t nap) and teach them chess, as she’s had success at home with her son. Again, I was a a horrible Montessorian, thinking “Really? Chess? Could the kids really do that?” I promptly ate my own words. One of the girls in my class who had never played before our Volunteer came in captured my queen, saying (in a very dismayed tone) “Nena Nena Nena…”.
Our older children are pretty good at chess, comparable to myself really, as they frequently beat me at it. (I’m learning along with them!) The 4 year olds even enjoy setting up the pieces and practicing which pieces can move in which directions, and who can capture where. It really doesn’t seem like they’d get a lot from it, but they really do. Some of the younger children enjoy watching the older ones play, and occasionally pipe up to say “Hey, the Knight can’t move like that!”
I can see how this has been a great outlet for some of the kids, because they are training their focus and concentration by trying to plan out future moves and even some basic strategy! The boy I played today set a pretty clever trap for my queen, which affected the rest of my game.
I was thinking of some great ideas for possible ways to teach this in the future: Some 3-part cards would be great, or just a board and pieces out with a color coded diagram for available movements…