New success in the Castle Project, this time the Erasmus + Agency has announced that the final evaluation of the project has been 100 points out of 100 possible, and also the project has been designated as an example of best practices.
All the Intellectual Outputs produced during the last three years ar now freely visible and downloadable at the Final Products page
Visit the website Victor’s Chess House to learn how to play chess! Especially if you are a teacher you can ask for free credentials: just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not forget to specify your name, family name and to which level you would like to have access. We will answer you provinding your totally free credentials.
The C.A.S.T.L.E. project: a Chess Curriculum to Advance Students' Thinking and Learning Skills in Primary Education was born from the idea of using chess as a pedagogic tool in primary school.
During the three years of the project, we have dynamically addressed the teachers, under the thrust of three partners all with great chess and school experience: Alfiere Bianco in Italy, the Deutsche Schulschachstiftung in Germany and the Club Ajedrez 64 Villalba in Spain.
There were three partner schools: the I.C. “Muzzone” in Racconigi (CN), the CEIP San Miguel Arcangel of Moralzarzal (Madrid) and the Grundschule Gartnerplatz in Munich.
The shared starting point was the belief that school chess nourishes the growth of individuals by involving and improving some of the particular abilities of human nature: problem solving, metacognitive and psychomotor skills as well as social and relational skills. The partners involved in evaluating the outcome of the chess activities on the aforementioned areas were the University of Turin (Prof. Trinchero) and two partners from Ministries of Education: the Regional School for Piedmont and the Dirección General de Innovación, Becas y Ayudas a la Educación of the Madrid region.
45 teachers and their respective classes were involved in the three countries, and together with chess experts they created a chess curriculum for the five grades of primary school: psychomotor activity on giant chessboard, use of chess in classrooms “on desk” and chess activity on the web (Victorís Chess House).
The results of the intervention were very positive: in the giant chessboard activity, the children of the experimental group improved their psychomotor skills more than the control group on all the items detected with an external observer, while in the logical-mathematical and metacognitive areas results have been undoubtedly positive, though with the gap between experimental and control classes not always so obvious. As regards the questionnaires submitted to the teachers relating to the project’s impact on their professionalization, they were fully satisfied with the activities of the CASTLE Project, and confirmed (in 88% of cases) the practicality of transferring the skills they had gained on to their colleagues and, above all, the perception of a “benefit” for students, in respect of the following dimensions: classroom climate; peer collaboration; participation and involvement of all students; cross-competency development.
Participating in the CASTLE project as a stakeholder from the beginning, FIDE (the World Chess Federation) has greatly increased the interest in CASTLE at international level.
FIDE has also officially incorporated our psychomotor activities in their training program for teachers (Early Years Skills Program – eys.fide.com).
The European Chess Union (ECU) included the CASTLE project in the conference held at the European Parliament in Brussels on 24 February 2016, and also officially approves our CASTLE curriculum in its School Chess Teacher Certificate.
In Italy, the Italian Chess Federation has included the entire CASTLE curriculum in its teacher training program, and probably some part of CASTLE will be included in a list of nationally recognised training methods for teachers in Spain.
To date, the main way of launching “Chess in Schools” projects in Europe has been by using chess instructors, external chess experts, with a significant cost to school administrations.
With the CASTLE project we have been able to suggest a valid alternative to affirm the pedagogical use of chess in schools by having the schools’ own teachers carry out the various class activities, in their classes in a completely autonomous way, during school hours.
We also have the idea that those teachers may, in the future, become trainers of their colleagues in the school. Finally CASTLE wants to be a help in changing the education policies of the states, in full compliance with the European Parliament Declaration of 15/03/2012, which calls for the introduction of “Chess in Schools” in the education systems of the Member States, suggesting an easy-to-use template, specially created and tested with precision (over 5,000 measurement tools compiled and analyzed in three years) without any external experts and which can be disseminated independently by the schools, not only internally but also to other schools.