Thursday, 18 April 2013

Making a Difference in a Child's Life

MiniChess initiative at Philena Primary School, Olievenhoutbosch


information supplied by Jolandie Nieuwenhuis
photographs by Linzé

The MiniChess Program:
The MiniChess™ Program was created & designed by Woman of the Year, Marisa van der Merwe, who with years of experience in the fields of teaching and chess training; saw the vision of empowering students by helping them understand maths and science through chess.
Jolandie (left) and Marisa
The MiniChess program was developed over years of teaching chess to “entry phase” learners (gr.1/R to gr.3, i.e. 5/6 to 8 years of age) as part of the school curriculum. It has already been used on a trial basis, with great success, at a number of schools in SA.
It is organized into structured lessons, with detailed lesson plans in the Teacher’s Manuals and attractive Project Books for the learners. The program uses tried and tested methods for teaching chess to little ones, including the use of so-called “MiniChess” games. The learning process is broken down into small steps, building confidence while keeping it fun, and is in line with the skills level of the young child at that specific age, eg. colouring, cut and paste, form recognition, simple pattern recognition, a little bit of writing, etc. in the case of 6 year olds (grade 1). The program consists of 4 levels (grade1/R, grade2 and grade3), each grade accommodating the continual development of skills and capacity as the child grows. The program continually links chess concepts with maths-, science- and life skills.”

Denel Land Systems' Involvement:
As part of the Mentoring For Success Program, the Mentees (Team Mighty Moves) needed to complete a Make A Difference (MAD) Project.
The enterprising young people from DLS that organised the event with Marisa holding the prized chess set.
This Project entails taking up a challenge that will make a difference either within the company or the community.
The team chose a project which involved implementing the MiniChess program within an under privileged school within the community. Initially we will implement the program within the Grade R class at the Philene Primary School in Olievenhoutbosch. The program will be implemented in partnership with Moves for Life.