Early Years Skills is brought to you by FIDE in association with Alfiere Bianco and CASTLE. The CASTLE project, created by Alfiere Bianco sports company, came into being with the aim of making children the central figures in developmental game playing, progressively developing their sensory-motor capacity by requiring the use of active intelligence during game activities. These highly beneficial lessons take place in an exclusive and protected space: the GIANT chessboard. Experience shows that this becomes a magical experience for kids – a bridge between reality and imagination. Carefully structured game activities heighten childrens self-esteem as well as providing a unique opportunity to build relationships with companions based on loyalty, responsibility and partnership.
To further aid teachers, videos of selected activities are available here. Sometimes there are differences between the way activities are conducted in the videos and how they are described in the manual. These differences usually relate to another toy or piece of equipment that was used for the sake of convenience, or small changes in the way equipment is placed or how an activity is conducted. This sort of flexibility is encouraged as long as it does not prevent the key psychomotor and teaching objectives being achieved (i.e. an activity regarding sideways horizontal movement must present that topic and develop the appropriate skills). Watching the videos before reading the game activity instructions is a good way to quickly get an overview of how activities are conducted. However, the manual instructions should always be read after watching a video as they contain important and detailed information.
This project is designed for kindergarten and primary school teachers, as well as other educators. The course is made up of 15 psychomotor education chapters. The accompanying manual is based on lengthy practical teaching experience with children between the ages of five and six, but can be used for students up to the ages of seven (like in the video course) or eight if the teacher believes it is appropriate for their level. Each chapter covers activities that last around one hour and a half (possibly longer if you choose to repeat popular variations or if new variations developed by the teacher are used). In any case, the teacher should split the activities in each chapter according to the lesson time available. All of the activities take place on a giant 4 x 4 metre chessboard, involving the use of very simple pieces of equipment, all of which can be made at home or in school.