Classical Education at TPCA
The concept of the trivium, or the three ways describes the natural learning stages of children as they mature. The end goal is to develop a knowledgeable, thinking and articulate student with a well formed mind. The three stages of the trivium are grammar, logic and rhetoric.
The grammar stage is based on acquiring facts and knowledge.
The Academy’s founding principles of phonics for reading, cursive handwriting and algorithmic based math are aligned with how students were taught for centuries.
Our curriculum, Core Knowledge, presents content knowledge at each grade level in a manner that is sequential, coherent and cumulative.
Latin is an integral component of a classical education. We expose students to Latin in the early elementary ages. We have Latin classes in 4th and 5th grades, and teach Latin I and Latin II in the middle school.
The grammar phase rejects the current popular belief of constructivism, or the theory that students are the makers of their own learning and knowledge. Expecting students to employ the later stages of logic and rhetoric, or synthesizing information without a foundation of facts and knowledge is counterintuitive.
The logic stage is based on organizing facts into statements and arguments. Middle school students begin to think in the abstract and as they mature we want them to argue well. The core subjects require developing and testing hypotheses, writing thesis statements, and using numbers to orient themselves in the concepts of algebra and geometry.
Communicating well, or persuading others is the art of rhetoric. Using the facts (grammar) and developing the skills to arrange facts into arguments (logic) prepares the student to communicate their ideas to others (rhetoric).
The Well Formed Mind
A classical education emphasizes the true, the good and the beautiful. We look to the past to inform our choices for the future. Great character is emphasized through the study of great books and primary documents and the Academy’s relentless focus on it as a valuable trait. As Thoreau stated, “You cannot dream yourself into character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.”
An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents, by Dr. Christopher A. Perrin is one of our foundational documents and is available for ordering or a free PDF download, here.