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Family engagement with chess

CHESSDEFENDER: Victoria Winifred


Increasing family engagement with the school community is often a huge goal for administrators and teachers every year. In my school, we had chess sets available at breakfast for kids who arrived early. Parents who dropped off their children took note, and started staying a for a while to play with their child before leaving for their jobs. Families also expressed gratitude that at the end of day we had chess sets in the gym to occupy students waiting for their buses or rides.

I offered monthly chess mornings in my classroom for parents to join before we started our lessons. Family members could play with their kids or just watch the games. Parents and guardians dropped by who’d never been seen before. “The chess” is what attracted them; many times they simply wanted to learn more about it for themselves.

In addition, I held several major chess events during school hours where children demonstrated how chess supported their learning. (I’ll share more on that in a future edition of the blog!)

In this issue of the ChessDefender Blog, let’s look at some of the feedback from families involved in these events. Use these true quotes to inspire your administrators to embrace chess as a part of your classroom culture to engage families.

7 Quotes from Parents Who Came to See (and Loved) Chess in Their Child’s Classroom:


  1. “What impressed me most was the total engagement of all the students in the class during the chess activity. Their strong enthusiasm ensured me that my daughter has been learning in the best possible learning environment at school.”

  2. “These programs sharpened my son’s mind while he was still engaged in the learning experience, and he also could have fun with the other kids!”
  3. “I thought chess was just a game to play before the workshop. However, after seeing the students in action, I realized chess could be great material to help children be smarter…they have to focus, watch carefully, think more, and weigh options.”
  4. “The dance performance of “The Arbiter” from “Chess: The Musical” was out of this world!
  5. The students teaching us parents was really fun! My son taught me the Sicilian Defense opening moves and I was so proud of him.”
  6. I liked it when my son could explain to me how to move the pieces.
  7. We were amazed to see that through chess they were not only learning how to compose and express their thoughts, but we were equally blown away by the algebraic content of the game and the children’s knowledge of it.

Last month I shared with you a personal anecdote illustrating a father who became interested in learning chess himself, because we included it in our classroom. Click on this helpful link to FAQs on this website, where you will also find guidelines on how a parent/guardian can best interact with their child about the game of chess.

Future Blogs

Future blogs will include:

  • The power of chess in classroom management! (This is HUGE!)
  • Reactions of administrators, colleagues, and students themselves to the integration of chess into the
    classroom and the subsequent developments
  • Strategies and facts to help back you up on incorporating chess in your curriculum
  • Chess tie-ins and parallels with various standards and disciplines
  • Chess event ideas
  • Chess and critical thinking
  • Beautiful examples from around the country and world of chess programs in motion
  • How lives are changed by chess

What would help you? I welcome your ideas and questions, and would love to hear about your own experiences on the topic.

Your feedback will be considered for the blog if submitted. (Permission will first be asked if selected.)

Biographical Note:
My name is Victoria Winifred. I’ve used chess as the theme for my classroom since 2007, and have a Chess in Education graduate certificate. Doubly-certified as a mentor for teachers, I’m here for you as an education consultant to provide support, strategies, facts, and resources for including chess in your classroom, regardless of the demographics of your students. Please feel free to reach out for help!
I am also the author of a new award-winning children’s book.









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