Secunda/Embalenhle Schools (testimony)

Osizweni Combined School

Upon hearing that there would be chess programme coming to our school, I was immediately filled with dread, I thought to myself, “not another thing.”

Add moaning and groaning to a negative attitude from not only myself but also my fellow colleagues, we were less than exited to say the least. But then we were introduced to Marietjie the “Mlungu”, our facilitator of the Moves for Life Programme, who in a short matter of time completely changed my perspective. We receive chessboards and pieces for the entire class, sufficient and requiring no sharing. Not only that, but huge boards were also fixed onto our classroom walls which were also visually stimulating.

We were given files with step by step lesson plans, backed up with the learners’ workbooks having projects that would keep the learner thinking and occupied for hours! How can one not love this programme? It was for the first time in my teaching career that we spoilt like this, spoon-fed actually. All that was expected from us was to cascade this information to the learners.

So, I did just that! When the learners receive their very own chessboards and pieces for the first time it felt like Christmas. You could see the joy and excitement in their faces; you could hear it in their voices. For many, it was the first they had come this close to a real board game. All they wanted was to get started, however, that was not going happen before they learnt where, when and why chess originated. The story together with the props provided, caught their attention, learners listened and many will never forget.

To see the reaction of the learners playing their first ‘game’ and the impact it made on them made me realize that this is the kind of intervention we needed. Chess even though extra- curricular has become a part of our curriculum, as it integrates with other learning areas and helps develop thinking, reasoning, memory etc.

A big thank you goes to this initiative and if you are ever wondering, know that you have made a difference in the lives of many in and out of the class.

Mrs V. Els

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