Poland - Education through Chess in School
Friday, 29 May 2015 14:38
We are grateful to the Polish Chess Federation and their 5-time World Champion of Problem Solving, Piotr Murdzia for this report. You can find a lot more on their web site: http://www.szachywszkole.pl You don't read Polish? Use Google translate or similar.
The project "Education through Chess in School" is organized and guided by Polish Chess Federation in cooperation with the provincial chess unions and local authorities. It is addressed to primary schools for pupils from classes I-III. Key partners for Polish Chess Federation include Ministry of National Education and Ministry of Sport & Tourism.
The idea to introduce chess in schools as an effective form of supporting education was founded in Polish chess environment many years ago. The direct stimulus for the start of implementation came from the European Parliament in 2012 when declaration calling on all member states of the European Union to introduce education of chess in educational settings was signed.
The project grew out of the need to increase primary mathematical skills. Playing chess improves logical and analytical thinking, problem solving skills, development of spatial orientation, concentration and many others. Through chess we try to support intellectual, social and emotional development of children. Due to the expected positive impact on children's education process, as well as providing teachers innovative and efficient tools for daily work with students project gained acceptance by the Minister of National Education.
The Polish Chess Federation has developed a coherent program of teaching chess in primary schools:
1) Prepared the set of textbooks wrtitten by Magdalena Zielińska - "Let's play chess" for children as well as teaching materials for the teachers.
2) Organizes 72-hour courses for teachers preparing them to teach basics of chess in classes I-III (in the vast majority costs are covered by local authorities or schools)
3) Organizes additional training courses and methodological conferences.
4) Equips schools with fifteen chess sets and demonstration chessboard – all free of charge.
5) Offers help in the organization of chess events by schools participating in the project.
6) Runs the website (www.szachywszkole.pl) and a group "Education through chess in schools" on Facebook. Provides for informational purposes separate phone number (+48 22 428 23 76) and e-mail:
7) In ”Mat” - journal published by the Polish Chess Federation there is a special insert dedicated to chess in schools.
8) The plans for the nearest future include publishing the methodical guide for teachers, lesson scenarios and work cards for students, as well as creating web-based platform used for education of teachers and the exchange of experiences between schools.
9) The elaboration of the program to continue learning chess in classes IV-VI.
10) Every year we organizes the huge Final Tournament for children participating in the project.
11) Project evaluation is conducted by research centers of leading Polish Universities – they study effects of chess classes on general development and school achievement of students.
Obligations of schools which sign the declaration of voluntary accession facility for the Project:
1. Learning chess as a form of compulsory classes must be carried out in at least one class of early education for the minimum of one hour per week for at least two years.
2. Chess Classes may be conducted only by teachers with a certificate of completion the 72-hour course organized by the Polish Chess Federation.
3. The school certificate should include the descriptive assessment of the activities of chess.
4. School board and parents must agree on the participation of students in the evaluation of the Project.
The first 152 schools joined the project "Education through Chess in School" in 2013. In the school year 2014/2015 project involved more than 300 schools. In the upcoming 2015/2016 project will cover 600 schools in all 16 provinces. 1 200 teachers will share chess knowledge with at least 15 000 students.
The figures show that the rate of expansion of the project "Education through Chess in School" is very fast. Constantly increasing number of schools and local governments interested in this initiative. Polish Chess Federation is organizing news conferences throughout the country. This year's training-methodical conference in Warsaw held on 15th May, 2015 already had an international character (speakers from Denmark and France) and was attended by 170 people.
The final tournament for 600 children participating in the project will be held on 20th June, 2015 at the most important sports facility in the country - National Stadium (previous year 430 pupils played in the final). Polish Chess Federation continuously provides subsequent courses of teacher training.
At the conference in Warsaw dr Krzysztof Przybyszewski presented the preliminary results of the evaluation of the Project, conducted by researchers at Kozminski University who studied the effect of learning chess on certain key competencies of children. The results after three waves of measurements indicate that the addition of a chess game raises the pace of development of students – mostly mathematical skills. Later this year it is expected to create the detailed report of the evaluation carried out, which will be forwarded to the Ministry of National Education as an additional argument in favor of introducing chess into the curriculum of Polish primary schools.