Bishops and Knights in After-School

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Twice a week, battles occur at P.S. 5 Ellen Lurie Community School-- battles on the black and white chessboards in Ms. Feng’s room where each student vies to dethrone his or her opponent’s king during Chess Club. Each Tuesday and Thursday, groups of students spend 45 minutes of afterschool time in Chess Club. The Club’s curriculum is varied for each group’s level of competency and cognitive ability. For example, kindergarteners focus on learning the different pieces, reading storybooks about chess amd playing human chess by standing up and moving around via the square floor tiles. Older students in the 4th and 5th grade focus on strategy and calculating risk during heated matches. 

Each match of chess begins and ends with a handshake, a gesture of sportsmanship and respect. Students deftly maneuver pawns, rooks, bishops and knights; they memorize the intricate patterns in which each piece is able to move. Students learn to carefully consider their moves in a safe and relaxing environment—kids are able to think, play and unwind from the academic day during this activity. Chess proves to be more than just a game. Each semester, students display measurable increases in skills and proficiencies including: thinking ahead, math skills, visual and spacial awareness and improved self confidence. The Chess Club is a prized part of the afterschool clubs at PS 5.

Mary Newcomb
Development Assistant
The Children's Aid Society