Program Philosophy

At Growing Minds Chess Academy we believe in the Mind/Body connection and fully embrace the idea of “Sound Mind in a Sound Body.” We are a very forward thinking company and strive to stay on the cutting edge of educational philosophy and psychology. We’re constantly researching new ideas and methods and have incorporated ideas from the Mindfulness educational movement as well as the Growth Mindset (MindUP) educational models.

Mindfulness has been featured on both TIME Magazine and in the NY Times, and is fully incorporated into the curriculum of many schools both nationally and in New York City. Mindfulness in the classrooms was featured in a NY Times article.

The MindUp educational model is based upon the works of Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, who promotes the encouragement of “growth mindsets” over “fixed mindsets”. The focus is on encouraging hard work and perseverance in children instead of just rewarding “good grades” or “being smart.” There is a focus on both words used (trying to use words that encourage hard work and the growth mindset) and an expanded knowledge of how the brain works and how intelligence is gained. You can read more about the MindUP approach at the following links:

Another thing that sets us apart is our approach to early childhood learning. We believe in the incredible learning capabilities of young children and aim to both challenge and encourage advanced learning in our children. Therefore, we’ve designed an intellectually stimulating curriculum for our ELC afterschool classes that will not only teach the children the basics of chess, but will also help prepare them for future tournament play and competition. They will not only learn what the pieces are called and how they move, but will also learn to think about different strategies and tactics within the game of chess. This is done through the introduction of various “games” that focus on different themes. One example of this is our “Trading Game” where we teach the children the values of all the pieces and then have them work out trades with each other using the various pieces. In this way the children learn that even though a Rook is worth 5 points (and seems like a very big, strong piece), it can be bested by a Bishop and Knight (3 + 3 = 6). This helps them later on in real game situations where they may have a choice to lose a Rook but gain a Bishop and Knight in return, and they will then be able to realize that it’s a better “trade” for them.