Children quick to learn skill of chess
Chess may not be a game that many kids in Porirua have exposure to, but Bill Moller is helping to change that trend.
The Plimmerton Rotarian has been going to Porirua East School at least once a week for two years, showing children of varying ages the strategic nuances that exist in the game. Along with other initiatives like reading programmes, it is part of Rotary’s commitment to helping young people learn.
Last year Mr Moller was teaching the older kids chess, but the focus this year has been the five and six-year-olds, on Fridays during ‘discovery time’, when they try new things.
Some are showing a natural aptitude for the game, he says.
‘‘It’s been very successful and thoroughly enjoyable for me. The kids catch on far quicker than I did 60 years ago and it’s very satisfying, you see their mind developing.
‘‘They are at the start of that competitive period of life, so most want to win and they’re learning about thinking ahead and using strategies.’’
Due to a combination of Mr Mol- ler’s ill-health and the shortened term, his visits have been curtailed for the rest of this year, but he is hoping to come back to the school in the new year.
Principal Irene Unasa says ‘‘the kids love Bill, we have to make sure we share him around’’. The interaction between an adult from outside the school community and the children is invaluable, along with the positive effect chess is having on their schoolwork.
‘‘He obviously cares and can relate very easily with them, Bill’s just so great. The feedback we’re getting is that they are showing some real talent [at chess] and just continue to surprise us. I think this has been a wonderful opportunity for everyone and it really fits in with the type of learning environment we have.’’
Ms Unasa says they would love it if Mr Moller could return for chess lessons next year.
Your move: Clockwise from left, Nimeesha Starkey-akavi, Shontae Sharp, Bill Moller and Cassius Houkamau get down to the business concerning castles, kings and queens.