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Chess

The two broad purposes of this academic area are to introduce and develop various thinking skills and to enhance the children’s social development. Thinking skills taught in chess class include categorizing information, pattern recognition, the logical sequencing of ideas, creative interpolations of moves within a sequence, visualizing possible outcomes, defining and solving problems, assessing and responding to danger, discovering short-term tactics and/or sacrifices to achieve an advantage, and planning and executing long-term strategic goals.

In the domain of social development, chess helps children learn to follow the rules, take turns, accept responsibility for their decisions, respect tradition and show good sportsmanship in both victory and defeat. The program is responsive and carefully attuned to support a range of learning styles and gender differences.
 
Chess is a universal activity, calling on skills valued in every culture and civilization in the world. Simply teaching the history of the game shows its multicultural base. In addition, classroom references to great players of the past and present cut across every cultural, national, gender, ethnic and racial line.
 
Many methods of instruction are used in teaching chess. In each lesson, verbal, visual, and hands-on activities are utilized, and each child has the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency or to seek further guidance. Assessment is constant throughout as the teacher observes the students and asks and answers questions.

Formal chess instruction begins in the kindergarten grade. Students receive weekly chess instruction in kindergarten for one semester, and in first grade for two semesters. In second grade, students have formal chess classes for one semester. Opportunities for extension and development of a student’s passion for chess abound. The early morning and after school programs offer chess instruction across all grade levels. Students participate in monthly local and national tournaments. Special Saturday Chess classes for girls are also offered. The chess program at Dalton provides ongoing exposure to chess learning, and allows all students to be well served.
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