Christ the Savior Academy utilizes a classical liberal arts curriculum that equips students with essential tools for learning and familiarizes them with classic works of literature and important historical events. The Academy and its Board are committed to cultivating a life-long love of learning in our students and helping them to discover, discern, and desire the Truth.
Aristotle says, “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit.”
Christ the Savior Academy’s curriculum goals are in keeping with Aristotle’s maxim and with the grammar stage methodology of a classical education. Reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic make up the foundation on which future learning is built and so are the chief concerns of our curriculum. Moreover, we hold that the formation of the child’s basic academic and social skills, work habits, and character are of vital importance in these early years
Reading, Composition, Spelling,Printing and Memory Work
Children are taught phonics, the system of letter-sound association, for the purposes of learning to read and spell. Phonics is most effective when taught systematically, thoroughly, intensely, and in a logical and time-tested sequence. Students are encouraged to read with fluency, accuracy, and comprehension, and to develop a life-long love of learning through classic and noble literature.
We seek to equip every student with the skills necessary for good composition, including proper grammar. Students identify and decode the parts of speech and learn to use correct punctuation and capitalization rules.
Students also learn to spell accurately by making a systematic study of phonics, word families, and spelling rules, as well as by continuously seeing, reading, and writing words correctly. An important step in developing good penmanship, punctuation, and spelling is copy work. This is an exercise consisting of copying sayings, maxims, Scripture, and poetry in the student’s best handwriting. Every teacher in every grade level requires good penmanship.
Student’s memory work includes poems, great literature, and Bible verses. Literature for teacher read-alouds includes Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, Bible stories, and other children’s classics.
Literature is the heart of classical education. High-quality, unabridged classics are, therefore, at the core of our curriculum. Using great books and study guides, our students read and study the very best in literature and poetry.
Numeracy and Arithmetic
Children learn number formation, shapes, counting, time and clocks, calendar, measurement, and money, and aim for a mastery of addition and subtraction facts and multiplication and division facts. Students learn number sense by skip counting, games, and drills. The primary goal in Kindergarten through 2nd Grade is immediate recall and understanding of math facts. As our students progress through 5th Grade, we aim to draw attention to patterns and spatial relationships that prepare them for encountering greater, traditional mathematical ideas and concepts in middle school and high school.
History and Geography
History lessons begin in 1st Grade with a survey of ancient history, and progress through 2nd Grade with a study of the ancient Greeks and their mythology, 3rd Grade with a study of ancient Rome, 4th Grade with a study of the Middle Ages, and end with the study of early American history in 5th Grade. An emphasis is given to the history of the Church and to the lives of the saints of the various periods. Learning about the classical and medieval ages gives the students a foundation for reading the Greek, Roman, and English classics, and for better understanding our own period in the light of history.
Greek and Latin
The study of Latin is a core element of a classical education. Our Latin studies are designed not only to teach the language, but also to complement our students’ learning of Grammar more widely and to aid in the recognition of Latin roots in English. Our classical heritage has come down to us from the ancient world through the Latin language, but much of that inheritance is Greek in origin. Therefore we seek also to familiarize our students with Greek, which is the language also of the Septuagint Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as the ancient hymns and prayers of the Orthodox Church. Students begin learning the Greek alphabet in 1st Grade and commence their Latin studies in 2nd Grade.
The emphasis of science in the grammar stage of a classical education emphasizes first-hand involvement with the natural world for the sake of mastering observation. Using nature studies, students learn about plants, animals, and seasons, and they take nature walks to collect leaves, flowers, bugs, and more for examination. Life studies (zoology, entomology, and botany) eventually progress toward astronomy and physical science, laying a foundation for more in-depth and experimental work in middle school.
Through reading aloud, narration, and memorization, students learn Bible Stories, Psalms, prayers, the Ten Commandments, and more. In Icon Studies, the children are exposed to the iconography of the Church and discuss its meaning. Children are also introduced to the Church’s cycle of feasts and fasts and to the lives of our Lord and of the great saints.
Music and Art
Children should be trained to discern and love the true, the good, and the beautiful in all subjects, not least in music and art. Children learn the basic elements of music through music theory, movement, folk song applications, and music appreciation. Their studies will also include the music of the Church. Students will learn the fundamentals of art – including drawing – by learning the five elements of contour shape and by using visual perception to create realistic drawings. They will also study classic artists and their work.
P.E. provides exercise for the student as well as an opportunity to play healthy competitive games. Students will work to develop basic motor and motion skills such as running, skipping, moving backwards, and flexibility, as well as sportsmanship and team play..
Classical education differs in several substantial ways from the modern paradigm of learning as practiced in most public and private schools. It is an approach to learning both new and old; old because it stretches back in Western civilization some twenty centuries, new because it has only recently begun to be rediscovered by educators. Some of its chief characteristics are as follows:
Language is the means by which we not only communicate with one another, but also think. Words convey ideas, and thought is largely about making distinctions and comparisons between ideas. The greater our grasp of language, the better our tools for thinking. The classical curriculum holds that learning and understanding language well is the basis
Everything that a student learns, whether in history, literature, mathematics, or science is connected. It is true that the various subjects must be treated individually if a certain measure of proficiency is to be gained. Nevertheless, the curriculum as a whole should have as a goal a comprehensive integration of all that the student learns, so that the unity of all thought and knowledge becomes evident to him. The goal of education ought not simply be information, i.e., a collection of facts and data, but knowledge, which is the ability to see the big picture, namely how all those facts and data are connected and meaningful. This gives the student a wider and more holistic view of the world.
Like fads, ideas and models come and go constantly. And every age has been characterized by its own defining ideas, some of which were true and some false. Our age is no exception. The student must be taught to think critically about whatever he encounters and to challenge ideas both new and old, so that he does not learn simply to accept the status quo, but to sift out the ideas that are lasting and well-grounded from those that are fleeting, to discern what is true from what is false. Only in this way can a student be master of himself, and not a slave to the spirit of the age.
Classical education includes joining in the ongoing conversation about Knowledge, a conversation as old as civilization. The medium of this conversation is books. To be a part of it, the student must first learn to listen to the greatest minds in history; this means, among other things, becoming familiar with the writings of the great thinkers. By doing so, the student can encounter their thoughts directly, rather than simply depending upon a textbook summary made by someone else.
The second key element in participating in this great conversation is being able to say something worthwhile, and to say it lucidly. The classical curriculum focuses not on testing a student’s memorization of facts, but on teaching him both to think clearly and to write and express himself effectively and persuasively. The creative exercise of writing gives students a greater command of the subject matter, as it requires them to make the knowledge their own in the process of expressing it to others. It also teaches students how to persuade others to think rightly and to choose wisely.
As important as knowing what is true is knowing what is right. Education should have as its primary goal the salvation of the soul of the individual student on the one hand, and the preservation of the moral foundation of civilization on the other. As the history of the twentieth century has shown all too well, knowledge without morality can create ‘intelligent monsters’ who have the means of exercising power but lack the ability to discern right exercise from wrong. The Classical Model has always understood that education must impart a moral vision, showing the student not just what a man is, but what he should be. This must include instruction in civic virtue. This curriculum therefore is established upon the unchanging moral values of Christian civilization.
FOLLOWS THE TRIVIUM.