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Benefits of playing chess in terms of cognitive development have been documented through various studies (see our summary 2014).
Indeed, chess provides a way of mental exercise to train analytical, logical, spatial, multi-step thinking as well as improve memory and pattern recognition.
The brains of children of the age roughly between 3.5 and 6 years old, however, are still developing fast in many ways. Although preschoolers do not plan ahead yet, they do have their own logic based on their self-centric situational assessments. They form opinions about causal relationships, understand symbols to represent reality and their memory is becoming reliable, thus trainable.
Our chess approach to this age group takes into account the mindset of the preschooler. They will learn value, absolute (queen is 9 points and knight only 3) and relative (a queen that cannot move in the corner behind her own pieces is "unhappier" than the knight in the middle of the board).
Pattern recognition will be trained to strengthen memory.
The chess class, casual and playful, but controlled, will be no longer than a crips 45 minutes, divided over some instruction time, some time to solve puzzles alone or paired up and some time to play chess with a full board or with selected pieces only.
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