Elementary school go programs are on the upswing, with organizers across the country launching programs for young kids. Xinming Simon Guo used the Chinese New Year last February to introduce 64 second-graders at Hawthorne Elementary, in Chicago, IL, to the game. “We celebrated a special Chinese Spring Festival. Besides having delicious food for the celebration of the Chinese New Year, the students were treated with ‘delicious’ Chinese culture in the game of weiqi (go).” Guo reports that some of the kids will soon join his weekly program at the local Chinese school.
In Camp Hill, PA, Mark Lichtenstein started a program at Eisenhower Elementary. ”I received go equipment from the AGF last school year,” reports Lichtenstein, “it got some use at the high school where I was teaching part time but the school closed over the summer, which I had anticipated. I brought the equipment with me to my new location, and I am glad I did, because it gave me the opportunity to lead a small go club at Eisenhower. I had 6 to 8 children in the club plus an assistant from the high school for each meeting. We met in February and March every other week for about an hour. Everyone learned some basics. Due to time constraints and attention spans, we started on 9×9 and moved to 13×13 but never went to 19×19. A few parents approached me at other school events and told me that their children were having a great time. The highschooler downloaded a go app for her smart phone. The parent running the chess club a few tables over was intrigued but I’ve not got him playing yet.”
Programs like these are directly supported by donations to the American Go Foundation (AGF). The AGF offers free equipment to any go program for kids in the US and Canada (through the CGA). They also offer free sets of Hikaru no Go to school and public libraries. For more information, or to make a donation, visit the AGF website. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo – at Hawthorne Elementary in Chicago, Guo is at far left, in the rear, wearing an orange shirt. Photo by Xinming Simon Guo.