kagoma-gate-chessIn the Kagoma Gate village school, our students are learning and enjoying the program recently adopted called MiniChess™, an instructional tool for math and higher order thinking skills. This remarkable curriculum coming from South Africa is about numeracy, thinking skills, planning, and other executive skills for school and life. The young children have a teaching session once a week for about an hour with  Robert Katende, from Kampala. He is a math teacher, chess player/instructor, national soccer player and subject of the book THE QUEEN OF KATWE. from Kampala. Robert taught Phiona Mutesi at the age of 9 and she became a national champion for Uganda. He travels hours to teach our children and we are most appreciative. Life skills associated with playing chess include: concentration, focusing, problem solving, creativity, spatial awareness, logic, reading and interpreting graphs, language and reading skills and gender equity. All lessons at each level are taught on a large magnetic chessboard with the pieces used as teaching tools. Students learn math through counting, direction of play, following instructions, and working with their classmates and teachers. Children’s verbal skills and fluency using English have greatly improved in the short period of learning. Six of our chess players were invited to Kampala with a few other Ugandan chess players May 2014 to play Grand Master Garry Kasparov. They used what they had learned and impressed Mr. Kasparov!  Mental capacity is a developed when starting the program between 5 and 9 years old and teaching is done in a fun and interesting way. We hope to continue in our first school in Kagoma Gate and expand to our Busoga Junior school as well. Funding is done with donations through The Giving Circle right now, while we look for donors and perhaps corporate funding for support if possible.