Classical Education

Classical education depends on a three-part process, called the trivium, of training the mind.

"The first years of schooling are called the “grammar stage” because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning is laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the early school years, the mind is ready to absorb information. Children at this age actually find memorization fun. So during this period, education involves not self-expression and self-discovery, but rather the learning of facts. Rules of phonics and spelling, rules of grammar, poems, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, the facts of mathematics — the list goes on. This information makes up the “grammar,” or the basic building blocks, for the second stage of education.

A student is ready for the Logic Stage when the capacity for abstract thought begins to mature. The logic of writing, for example, includes paragraph construction and learning to support a thesis; the logic of reading involves the criticism and analysis of texts, not simple absorption of information; the logic of history demands that the student find out why the War of 1812 was fought, rather than simply reading its story; the logic of science requires that the child learn the scientific method.

The final phase of a classical education, the “Rhetoric Stage,” builds on the first two. At this point, the student learns to write and speak with force and originality. The student of rhetoric applies the rules of logic learned in middle school to the foundational information learned in the early grades and expresses his conclusions in clear, forceful, elegant language.

A classical education is more than just a pattern of learning, though.  then, First, it is language-focused: learning is accomplished through words , videos, and television). Why is it important? Language learning and image learning require very different habits of thought. Language requires the mind to work harder; in reading, the brain is forced to translate a symbol (words on the page) into concept. Images, such as those on videos and television, allow the mind to be passive. In front of a video screen, the brain can "sit back" and relax; faced with the written page, the mind is required to roll its sleeves up and get to work.

Second, a classical education follows a specific three-part pattern: the mind must be first supplied with facts and images, then given the logical tools for organization of  those facts and images, and finally equipped to express conclusions.

Third, to the classical mind, all knowledge is interrelated."    ~Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise - The Well Trained Mind

This is the big picture of classical education. However at CCS our focus is on the grammar stage where children are taught through memorization and recitation. We accomplish this through learning games, songs and age appropriate activities. Beginning with our infants, children are engaged daily in fun but structured class time including letter sounds, numbers, colors, shapes and language development.