From an early age, I can remember watching my nana and my mother play bridge and being fascinated by what all the mysterious cards meant. I have always fancied teaching it to children and jumped at the chance when I saw the article about it in the GTC magazine last year.
After contacting Ann Wickens and Peter Edmonds at the SBU, I was able to enlist the invaluable help of Hamish Watson, Kevin Strathern and this year John Kelly was added to that list. We now have two classes playing in the school with another class beginning in January, 2017.
The children absolutely adore it, and I have found that there have been many educational benefits. Learning bridge has definitely helped children with their working memory which translates into all aspects of the curriculum. In addition, it has vastly helped them in problem solving as they use strategy and logic in bridge which they can easily use now when presented with a tricky problem. I have found that the fact that bridge is a tricky game has made the children more resilient. They are determined and will not give up!
Their mental agility has vastly improved as calculators are not allowed and they have to rapidly count points and scores at the end of each hand. Improving in their attainment in a fun way. Music to every teacher's ears!
The children love the social aspect of bridge, and like the fact that they are always playing with a partner. Trying to work out where all the cards lie is part of the fun for them.
I also tutor maths on a one to one basis and have introduced knock out whist with some of my pupils which they too are loving.
None of this would be possible however without volunteers! They are the experts, and I just could not have done it without the help of Hamish, John and Kevin who have given their time twice a week every week and continue to do so! Their enthusiasm is infectious and made me decide to learn to play myself. I am very much a beginner, but am adoring it and love that I am learning at the same time as the children.
As far as I am concerned, it is a win win situation and I really think that any school that introduces it would not be disappointed.