Chess requires you to think hard, analyze, plan and execute. Problem solving and learning are part of a game. First Move has success built into the lessons; kids learn they can take on something challenging and be successful. Chess also has smart “brand association,” kids who play chess believe they are smart.
Being in the classroom means all kids receive the benefit of becoming a better thinker and the cross-curricular ties First Move delivers. The concepts may be math, science, or reading based, but the kids call it all chess and they love it!
A study on a large scale chess program in New York City, which involved more than 100 schools and 3,000 children, showed higher classroom grades in both English and Math for children involved in chess.
Studies in Houston, Texas and Bradford, Pennsylvania showed chess leads to higher scores on the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.
Chess also teaches children about sportsmanship — how to win graciously and not give up when encountering defeat.
"Competition fosters interest, promotes mental alertness, challenges all students, and elicits the highest levels of achievement."
"A learning environment organized around games has a positive affect on students’ attitudes toward learning. This affective dimension acts as a facilitator of cognitive achievement."
Allen & Main, 1976
"The problems that arise in the 70-90 positions of the average chess game are, moreover, new. Contexts are familiar, themes repeat, but game positions never do. This makes chess good grist for the problem-solving mill."
Most students (83.6%) indicated that learning chess made them 'feel smarter.' About 64.2% said that learning chess helped them 'think better in reading and math.'
In parent surveys, 91.3% of responding parents believed that all children should learn chess in elementary school.
"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."
Smith and Sullivan, 1997
"Students receiving chess instruction scored significantly higher in standardized tests of both math and reading."
"Problem solving skills that chess teaches will transfer to tasks in other academic domains, including reading comprehension and math, and to enhanced performance on standardized tests of academic achievement."
"Chess nourishes latent learning abilities, and reinforces skills in logical and abstract thinking, impulse control, endurance and determination. This was manifest as a significant improvement in both verbal and non-verbal IQ scores after three years of chess instruction."
Van Zyl, 1991
First Move is a two year curriculum that requires no previous chess knowledge to be successful. “The Chess Lady” teaches lessons on our DVD and the classroom teacher facilitates the student activities. The example video features the 2nd lesson in the curriculum.
Each lesson is called a “square.” There are 20 squares (lessons) with a total of 30 lessons in the first year curriculum. In year two there are 20 squares with a total of 28 lessons.
The First Move™ chess curriculum is designed to be used during the school day as supplemental curriculum in 2nd and 3rd grade. In order for students to receive the full benefits of the program, it was very important that First Move align to state standards.
First Move is made up of 20 'squares' containing 30 lessons. First Move is currently being mapped to the new Common Core Curriculum Standards. To view an example of how the program currently maps to national and state standards, click on the link below:
First Move teachers are the cornerstone of the program, and are not required to know how to play chess to facilitate First Move. We provide training and mentoring to ensure teachers can easily implement the program.
"The Chess Lady" teaches the lessons on a simple step-by-step DVD. The teacher facilitates and has fun learning along with the kids. Each lesson is taught in manageable segments with activities to help reinforce the concepts.
Parental involvement in the First Move program helps to make the chess experience for both the students and schools successful. First Move parents can help by sponsoring schools and working with their children at home on chess activities.