Storytelling school

Harrisonburg’s chess program teaches children the game through storytelling

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – The game of chess has been played for more than 1,500 years, and an organization called Chess at 3, also known as Story Time Chess, continues the tradition and teaches the game to children ages 3 and up .

The program began in New York and has multiple locations around the world, including right here in the Shenandoah Valley.

Harrisonburg native Sarah Stevens brought the program to Friendly City when she returned home in the fall of 2020. She says it’s fun to watch kids learn the game through the unique storytelling instruction .

“Each piece is a character and not just a piece on the chessboard. It’s a character that you get told a silly story about how it moves. And then once the kids know all the piece moves, we we have hundreds of other stories that teach the value of the piece that teaches chess notation that then teaches tactics,” said Shenandoah Valley Regional Chess Manager Sarah Stevens.

Chess at 3 has partnered with the JMU Youth Center as well as the Redeemer Classical School, and also offers individual lessons. The program will run camps through JMU this summer. Click here for more information on the programs and how to register.

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