Classical Education Model
Our goal is the formation of the whole person—mind, body and soul—to help transform the world. We seek to train the student’s memory, understanding and will, so that the student can speak, write and act well in life, for the greater glory of God. This is accomplished through self-activity, mastery of progressively more difficult material, formation of the will through conscientious application of study habits, and an emphasis throughout on developing the ability to learn, to think and to communicate.
The classical model of education is based on the traditional “liberal arts”, i.e., the learning arts proper to a free person since the time of the ancient Greeks and enjoying a rich Catholic heritage. It is not subject matter but rather the bestowing of the tools of learning and clear thinking that help students to apply this knowledge to their lives and the problems and issues they will face in the world.
This classical model of education closely follows the natural intellectual development of the child. In the classical method, these stages of development are represented by the “Trivium” of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. “Grammar” means learning the structure of a subject—grammar and spelling rules, math facts, the catechism—and corresponds roughly to grades 1-4. The “Logic” stage involves a deeper analysis of subjects—learning how all the parts come together in a cohesive whole. This is especially true in subjects such as history and literature, where students start delving deeper and asking “why” and “how” questions; it corresponds to grades 5-8. Finally, the “Rhetoric” stage takes these how and why questions and focuses on what St. Ignatius of Loyola called eloquentia perfecta—perfect eloquence—in the communication of these thoughts.