• Dana Lazarof

World Teacher's Day

Vlad Rekhson, Ryan Brookwell and Naama Levy .


This month on the 5th of October we will be celebrating World Teacher’s Day – so we decided to honor some of our more prominent Educators from across the Globe.


Currently in 2020, ChessMatec is being taught to more than 200,000 students in over 1000 Schools spread throughout the World! Our comprehensive curriculum provides teachers with prepared lessons for beginner and intermediate students, and the necessary tools to easily create classrooms, import students, and see helpful metrics.


Today – we are giving the stage to some of ChessMatec’s leading Chess Teachers – Vlad Rekhson and Ryan Brookwell from Canada, and Naama from Israel!


Vlad Rekhson is a Chess Teacher that uses the ChessMatec program in Canada! We asked him a couple of questions so that you can get to know him too!



Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience in chess training.


Currently I live in Canada. I played chess since I was a kid, but never planned to become a chess teacher. After I started teaching Chess (kind of by accident), I had fun and wanted to do it full time. Eventually I quit my previous job, got a Degree in Education and started working in a school full time as a Chess Teacher.


How long have you been teaching Chess to kids?


About 10 years.


What tools do you use to teach chess to young kids?


I use the ChessMatec App and the ChessMatec Online platform, Alterman books, lichess.org, Chessbase and Chess Tutor.


What do you like about ChessMatec?


I like the exciting exercises and the fact that kids get immediate feedback on how they do.


What is your favorite Theme to teach Children?


My favorite theme is Scholar's mate. I usually know who listened and who didn't at the end of the lesson when they start playing against each other!


What is the biggest challenge in teaching young kids?


The biggest challenge is making it fun for the kids and helping them improve their game all at the same time.


What is your secret to being an awesome Chess Teacher?


The only tip and the best tip I can give you is - love what you do.


What is a piece of advice you can give to parents/teachers who are just starting to teach young kids chess?


Make it fun! Chess doesn’t need to be boring or hard – and there are great tools out there and ways to make the game and the learning process exciting!






Ryan Brookwell is Chess Teacher from Calgary, Canada who teaches Chess using the ChessMatec program and principles to kids starting from just THREE years old!



Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience in chess training.


I am from Calgary, Canada. I have always enjoyed chess and puzzles, but my primary experience is teaching early childhood education, so I have never played ranked chess.


How long have you been teaching Chess to kids?


I have been teaching chess for one year now.


What tools do you use to teach chess to young kids?


I use many materials to teach my chess lessons throughout the year. I like to ensure the kids get a wide variety of different stimuli each time, so I like to change it up regularly. The tools that I use regularly include storytelling, the ChessMatec app, Videos on the ChessMatec Campus for Teachers, coloring, playing chess games using normal a regular Chessboard and pieces, passing around manipulatives including rocks, envelopes, and packages; and playing variants of popular games such as hide and seek, and tag.


What do you like about ChessMatec?


What I like the most about ChessMatec is that I can use Chess as a vehicle to teach the kids about sharing, taking turns, and developing their emotional awareness and social skills. Then, when they enjoy my lessons, they start to want to learn about Chess even on their own time.

What is the biggest challenge in teaching young kids?


My biggest challenge working with the young kids is that if a child decides that you aren't interesting, then it can be very difficult to recapture their attention. I always try to be the most interesting thing in the room.


What is your secret to being an awesome Chess Teacher?


Be very aware of your body language and attention in class. I always pay the most attention to the children who are behaving well and listening nicely, and I make sure they have my full attention. The kids learn to vie for my attention by behaving well and listening, and I let an assistant or their primary teacher deal with children who misbehave. The kids will also want to mimic you so be sure to speak to the kids politely and give them your full attention when they speak, and they will learn to return the favor while you are teaching.


What is a piece of advice you can give to parents/teachers who are just starting to teach young kids chess?

The most useful thing I was taught while I was being trained is that it's more important for the kids to have fun in chess class and to enjoy it, than it is for them to learn chess quickly. Kids will invariably learn the things they enjoy, so my job isn't to teach 3-year-old’s chess, it's to make those 3-year-old’s love chess. Once they have a desire to play and learn the game, teaching them the rules becomes much easier. So, if the kids want to play “house” and tell stories with the pieces, then that's their way of reinforcing the stories and philosophies of chess. Encourage them to play and enjoy themselves and they will eventually start asking you how the pieces move etc’.





Naama Levy has been a Chess Teacher since she discovered her love of Chess while playing her Husband! Naama teaches Chess using the ChessMatec program and principles. We asked her a couple of questions so that you can get to know her too!



Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience in chess training.


I’m from the city of Holon in Israel. I’m 34 years old, married and have two little girls, and am also expecting my third girl. My first interaction with chess was 6 years ago, when I got my teaching certificate and I was looking for a job. I was supposed to be a ”normal” teacher in high school, but then I saw an interesting ad of a company that was looking for chess teachers for kids. At that point I didn’t know anything about chess, but it sounded interesting to me and so I asked my husband to teach me the game. Since my husband was born in the Soviet Union, he knew chess quite well, and after few lessons and games with him I felt ready to be a chess teacher for kids. I started my work in a summer day-camp, and before teaching chess in schools and kindergartens I took part in continuing the educational programs at ChessMatec.



How long have you been teaching Chess to kids?


I’ve been teaching chess for more than six years.


What tools do you use to teach chess to young kids?


Since I’m working with young kids - 4 years old to 9 years old – I use music and songs, and body movement games. For example, I took a famous melody of an Israeli children’s song and wrote new lyrics for it that describe how every chess piece moves in the “Chess Kingdom”. I open every lesson with this song and the kids do the movements while they are singing, so it is a nice activity that helps them to connect to the chess lesson and to remember the movements of each piece in the game. I also use stories and fairy tales about a “magical chess kingdom” with a king, a queen, soldiers and other pieces that help the king. In addition, I use the ChessMatec App. This interactive animated game includes many levels and exercises that help the kids to train in chess- in class and in their homes as well.

What do you like about ChessMatec?


I like that its diverse and allows me to teach the Kids lessons in the classroom in a way that they can relate to with fairytales and song, but that they can also practice Chess at home using the App.


What is the biggest challenge in teaching young kids?


Chess is not an easy game. It is complex and requires concentration and patience. Young kids usually lose interest quickly, so when I teach them, I act like an actress in order to fascinate them, and also use a variety of tools like I mentioned earlier. Otherwise, I hear sentences like “I don’t like chess”, “chess is boring”, etc. Moreover, it takes time to make the kids remember the rules of the game, so I need to repeat them over and over again in many different ways until they do.


What is your secret to being an awesome Chess Teacher?


First, I love teaching kids. I believe that every teacher, no matter what he or she teaches, has to have patience, creativity, performance skills, improvisation skills, and above all – a real love for children. I’m always trying to make my chess lessons different from other “regular” lessons (like Math and Language), and to make the Chess lessons fun. Secondly, I focus on paying attention to every pupil, strong or week, and putting a spotlight on his/her strengths in order to empower him/her and to raise his/her self-efficacy. And thirdly, I just love playing chess!


What is a piece of advice you can give to parents/teachers who are just starting to teach young kids chess?


Use your imagination and creativity while teaching the kids- songs that are accompanied with body movements that imitate the chess pieces movements, stories, fairy tales, short animated movies about chess, etc.

Let the kids play with the chess pieces from the beginning of the process, even if they don’t know all the rules yet. They need to “feel” the game with their own hands, and they lose patience if you are just talking to them about the game and its’ rules rather than showing them.

Teach them the meaning of words like respect, patience, fair play and handshakes (at the beginning and at the end of the chess game).

In the end of every lesson, give them a small gift (medal/ tag/ sticker) for positive reinforcement. If you are a teacher in class, choose a different kid each time and mention him in front of the class and the other pupils to explain what were the reasons for giving them the gift (good behavior, fair play, helping friends with problems they had during the game, etc).

















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