WSVN — King, queen, pawn and bishop are all terms for the game of chess. Now elementary school students in Broward County are learning to play chess in addition to reading and math! 7’s Lynn Martinez shows us in today’s Parent to Parent.

These third graders are making bold new moves. That’s because students at Discovery Elementary School in Sunrise are now learning the game of chess. The school was chosen to be part of a pilot program last year.

Principal Angela Fulton: “Because of the success now Broward County is doing full implementation in all of the elementary schools in grades two and three.”

The national program called First Move is taught one hour a week to second and third graders.

Angela Fulton: “Chess will lend itself to all of the other curriculum subjects, especially in mathematics, science and reading.”

The game, which is based on strategy, teaches children critical thinking skills and problem solving.

“So, as the students are learning how to play chess, they’re sharpening their skills in all of the other curriculum areas and they don’t even know it, because they’re having fun.”))

Third grade teacher Justine Maver is using the game to teach her students about geography.

Justine Maver: “When you look at the map, how does it relate to chess?”

The kids use chess moves to learn where states and cities are located on a map.

Justine Maver: “It’s definitely played a part in every single aspect of the academic spectrum.”

Eight-year-old Lauren says she really looked forward to chess class this year.

Lauren Amitirigala: “Shaking hands, meeting new friends and winning games.”

Students learn about good sportsmanship, shaking their opponents hand before each game and to encourage them.

Lauren Amitirigala: “Like, ‘Hey, that was a good move'”

Jaden says chess forces him to focus.

Jaden Meneses: “You have to think ahead of your moves and pay really attention to every piece there is.”

The program was such a success, other grade levels wanted to get involved. So, the principal started classes teaching the fundamentals of chess from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Angela Fulton: “They’re excited, they’re paying attention, they’re learning, they’re asking questions.”

It’s a win-win, or checkmate for everyone.

Angela Fulton: “It’s going to be a great thing for the district, a great thing for our schools, and a wonderful thing for our students to experience.”

The First Move chess curriculum program is teaching more than 34,000 students to play the game nationwide.

First Move

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