Classical education is a pedagogical strategy that “teaches with the grain” of the child. Employing the ideas first realized by Dorothy Sayers in The Lost Tools of Learning, classical education seeks to train students how to learn. It is a method of education that utilizes the trivium.
The Trivium, as defined by Sayers, is the developmental stages in the life of a child. The grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages, as they are most commonly known, are specific ages or time periods in the life of a child that correspond to certain norms, habits and expectations. Classical education seeks to capitalize on these stages of development by employing a methodology that best connects with the student and their particular stage of learning. The classical model and the Christian mission should never be opposing ideas. In fact the classical method serves the Christian mission very well. If the mission of any school is to establish Christian culture then proper education is the most fitting weapon. Education is the key to the advancement of any culture and the classical method is proven, tried, and tested. It serves students well in establishing a love for learning. And it is through Latin, Logic, Rhetoric, Aesthetics, Phonics, and The Great Books of Western Civilization, that the classical model enhances a child’s knowledge of our great God.
The grammar stage is foundational in developing a love for learning. Children at this age soak up material at an amazing rate. They find memorization through choral recitations and chants fun and enjoyable. At CCS we capitalize on this by giving our students opportunities to memorize all types of facts in Math, Geography, English, Bible and Latin. Facts are the foundation for dealing with truth.
Grammar students eventually become teenagers and they love to contradict their elders. The question “Why?” becomes the centerpiece for discussion. They are often guilty of talking when they should be listening and they enjoy pointing out the mistakes of others. It is at this stage that their favorite discussions and debates are those with no easy answer, though they believe they have the answer. At CCS we believe these students are ripe for instruction and training in formal logic.
The Logic student graduates to high school where the art of persuasion through rhetoric is introduced. It is here where students begin to really exhibit their creative side. They love to communicate the ideas they have been wrestling with and they love to impress. They are ready to be independent, or so they think, and they long to be heard. At CCS students are taught to communicate with “wisdom & eloquence” through training in rhetoric.