As a school administrator, teacher, or parent, you want your school to offer the best for the students. Exceptional extracurricular activities are an important part of that. Chess is growing hugely in popularity in schools as the benefits of chess in an academic setting are studied further. If your school doesn’t offer chess to students, it’s about time to change that. Before starting, there are a few important things you need to think about.
1. Why do you want to offer chess to your students?
Oftentimes, it’s to offer a safe experience during downtime that also assists the overall academic growth of your students. Reading levels, analytical skills, and problem solving skills are all shown to improve when chess is added to the curriculum.
Starting a chess club for these reasons is great, however one question we forget to ask is “why do the students want to play chess?”. For the children, it’s often a place to socialize, have fun, and spend time playing a game with their friends. Starting a chess club is easy, but for it to be a success, we have to prioritize fun and socialization.
2. Lunchtime chess club, before, or after school?
Depending on when you have time to slot in your school chess club, it should affect the curriculum and the coaching. At lunchtime, students are high-energy, ready to mingle and fill each other in on their lives, school drama, and so much more. Lunchtime chess clubs need to take this into account by leading a social curriculum. On the other hand, after school chess clubs are able to focus on the nuances of chess itself. Clubs that start before school may want to focus on chess as a means to prepare for their day and warm-up for the lessons to come. Of course these are generalizations, as every school is different.
3. What incentives will drive your students?
Incentives can really help motivate students to continue with the club after they’ve dipped their toes in. The incentives you choose will be dependent largely on the age group of your students, and can be as simple or creative as you like. From simple weekly tournaments, to big tournaments to work up to at the end of the year, to trophies, prizes and certificates. Choosing the right incentive when you’re starting a chess club is key to helping it thrive in the long run.
4. Choosing the right coach!
This one is a bit of a bonus for you. We have some amazing coaches that love to work with schools to build a robust chess community. We set up clubs, provide incentives, and so much more. If you’re excited to have chess as an extracurricular at your school, contact us today.