What is Classical, Christian Education?
Trinity is a member of the Society for Classical Learning and is Lexington’s only accredited classical Christian day school. While private Christian education, as a whole, is on the decline, our culture is witnessing a rapid increase in classical Christian schools. What is unique about a classical education?
Classical education goes back in order to move us forward; it’s a resurgence of the time-tested model that cultivates a love of learning. Students are not simply given information to be reproduced on standardized tests, but instead are trained in the ways of knowledge, wisdom, and virtue. Practically speaking, this is achieved through three stages of learning coinciding with the natural development of children: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric.
The first phase of classical education is referred to as the Grammar phase. It takes place from PreK through 5th grade and serves as the foundation of the entire model. Children are full of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge, like little sponges able to learn and retain a wealth of information. We capitalize on this through creative activities, imaginative training, and critical memorization.
The second phase is the logic phase and takes place in grades 6 through 8. This is where we take the foundation that was laid and begin to explore it. At this stage of development children are naturally argumentative, not in a negative way, but in an explorative way. It’s not enough to simply know information; they want to know the “why” behind information. We capitalize on this inclination through interactive discussions, inquisitive projects, training in formal logic, and the art of critical thinking.
Once students reach high school, we are in the rhetoric stage of classical education. As teenagers, students become far more self-aware and conscious of how they are viewed and what they are communicating, and we tailor their education accordingly. At this point they are not just learning truth; they are owning it as their own though internalization, application, and communication. The culmination of the rhetoric phase is the senior thesis. Students thoroughly research a topic, craft a persuasive hypothesis, and then argue their thesis before a panel of experts.
For a more thorough overview of the classical model, as well as a test-case in the beauty and effectiveness of it, we invite you to read The Gospel Coalition’s excellent article, “The Exponential Growth of Classical Christian Education”