Strategy club marvels local pre-school


George Rao

Members of Strategy Club took their game-making skills to Little Marvels Montessori School in Plano on Saturday as the club hosted a family strategy festival in conjunction with the school’s movie night.  

Led by junior George Rao, members of the club did their part to engage the brains of children as young as three years old.

George Rao

“The games are targeted towards a slightly higher age group, maybe two years above the group we’re working with, in order to exercise their minds and work at a higher level,” George Rao said. “Of course, at a Montessori school, the faculty makes an effort to get these kids to think at a higher level, so I think we’re complimenting the goals of Montessori schools like this one.”

For their game night, students acted as amateur board game makers who displayed their creations for any child to play.

“I had to man one of the games that I created,” sophomore Tristan Maravilla said. “Two of my friends and I played the games with the kids and helped organize who got to play what and when.”

For parents, the event appeared to be a success.

“Both of our kids have been going to Little Marvels for four years now, so if any event is going on, we don’t miss it,” parent Vinay Rao said. “They’ll know what they need to achieve and be like big kids and try to be organized in the way they interact with other younger kids and trying to build those communication skills. Of course, playing the games is just one part. It’s more than the activities that make a difference. I just hope that our kids learn and get some of that knowledge from bigger kids.”

Throughout the year, Strategy Club students have been working on improving their game-making skills and preparing for the event.

“During the advisory meetings, we brainstorm,” Rao said. “During the after school meetings we play test, and at home, we write up the rules, and then we’re pretty much done. We were not completely finished with the games, but they were completely polished for this event.”

Despite the simplistic nature of the board games at display at Little Marvels, these creations go through a lengthy process.

George Rao

“It’s actually a lot harder than you would think. I’d say the hardest part is definitely thinking of an idea,” Maravilla said. “I like to keep the concept as simple as possible, especially since we were playing with young kids. I also think it’s good to make the game look pretty if your game requires a board or something like that because I don’t think anyone wants to play a game that looks ugly.”

Designed as a day of fun for the kids, the real world experience of having their games tested in person is hard to beat.

“Since we’re playing with kids, we have to understand who the games are targeted towards,” freshman Ella Gong said. “I definitely got away from this that, when you’re playing these games with actual people who don’t know how the game originally works, it definitely helps you learn how to make things better, which is what a lot of game creators have to do. They have to share [their games] to an audience and then get feedback to understand how to make [them] better. So this has been a really good experience for us to know how the real world works.”

Saturday’s event at Little Marvels is the first of three planned for the next several months.

“The goal for next year is to try to continue this event because this is our first year and we’re actually doing three events,” George Rao said. “We’re doing one in May in a senior home and one the day after school ends at the Davis Library. So in building these relationships with these community members, my goal is to keep and continue them every year. Right now strategy club wants to become more stable so that we can do the same things annually.”