By fostering community with small class sizes and whole-class learning (instead of grouping by ability), students learn from their early school days that their classmates are their encouragers. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 calls us to “admonish the idle, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” and these commands are reinforced at Augustine throughout their schooling years. Together, students hearts are “knit together in love” as they grow side-by-side.
Students are taught principles of self- governance, from a posture that enables them to be ready to learn to the loving discipline administered as a means to shepherd a child’s heart. Structure sourrounds classroom life, providing familiar routines and clear boundaries within which students will grow secure and con?dent.
Seeds sown in these younger years will yield fruit later as students blossom into disciplined, articulate scholars, capable of defending their faith in various arenas. At Augustine we are delighted to join hands with like-minded parents in this important task of discipling children.
Through art, music, math, science, history, geography, poetry and literature, students are presented with examples of beauty– God’s aesthetic and order revealed. They learn to observe and look for God’s Hand in their studies, from the weaving of history (God’s story) to the paintings of the masters; from the themes of the Gospel (stories of con?ict and redemption) to the intricate patterns of mathematics. All studies provide an opportunity to learn more about God: His World and His Word. Students are taught that beauty matters, and are provided with tools to create beauty.
In Kindergarten, students learn to love their schooling because school teaches to their strengths. Challenges will come their way, but those challenges will be presented in a way that teaches to the grain of the child, their natural bent at this age. Learning to read involves all their senses as they hear how letters form sounds, as they sing phonics rules, as they observe and color great works of art that correspond to the letter study, as they create “butter” or “masks” to help in letter association, as they gather items for an in-class museum of objects which share a common sound, and as they physically move puzzle pieces to see how letters come together to form sounds. Their curiosity is piqued by historical primers, their sense of wonder ?lled with science experiments related to the senses, and their natural desire to tell stories is directed to oral presentations, including a “Family History” speech. They chant and sing Bible songs and stories while beginning to understand that they were made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Appetites are established in Kindergarten. Students will be fed literature with strong characters and themes, intriguing plots, and beautiful artwork. Raised on good literature, students will hunger for more and become unsatis?ed with the junk food that is often served up in our culture. Students will be immersed in a literature-rich environment because Augustine Classical Academy on a whole, K-12, understands the fact that Christ came as the logos, the very word of God, and, as a school, appreciates the power and in?uence that words hold.
(Grades 1-3) at Augustine Classical Academy
Eager, enthusiastic students engage in their studies with vigor. At Augustine, teachers provide the building blocks of learning for phonics, writing, grammar, science, history, geography, math, and spelling and students play with these blocks each day. They sing, chant, recite, illustrate, and dramatize key facts and concepts to solidify their knowledge base. For young students, such work is play–a natural extension of their development at this age.
While they are learning foundational facts, they also learn to think biblically. They learn history chronologically, beginning with Creation and, in the course of three years, examine ancient civilizations of the world through the Middle Ages. In this study, they see God’s Hand in history as He weaves together the narrative of His people in His world. All studies–from literature to science to math to art to music–point to the God who created the world in infinite complexity that we might grow closer to Him as we study His handiwork and learn His story.
A third and vital component of these younger years consists of establishing principles of self-governance in young children. Such self-governance is born out of love and consideration for those around them. Teachers gently shepherd students’ hearts, helping them to see how their actions affect others. At Augustine, we desire to see students’ hearts knit together in love (Colossians 2: ); relationships flourish as students learn to govern themselves.
(Grades 4-6) at Augustine Classical Academy
As older students continue to master material, their minds mature. Their reading and writing becomes more complex; their math studies more challenging. They continue the narrative of history, from the Age of Exploration to the modern day, again seeking God’s hand in all they learn. By reading historical fiction and primary sources, they carefully consider the consequences of events and imagine what it might have been like to walk in another’s shoes, developing empathy and compassion along with a broader view of history and its implications. Through their science studies, they hone skills of observation and analysis. Formal Latin studies begin, adding a new perspective and understanding to English language and grammar. Older Upper Grammar students (5th & 6th graders) may elect to participate in Math Counts, athletic offerings, and the dialectic musical. The arts program–choir, instrumental instruction, fine arts–is woven throughout the curriculum, as an appreciation for beauty is developed. In a classical Christian education, grammar studies direct students towards the biblical mandate to grow in knowledge and understanding, that in the years ahead they will be prepared to grow in wisdom.
Teachers continue to shepherd the hearts of their students, and students strive for greater self-governance as they become more independent learners. A community of learners, with hearts knit together by the grace of God, provides a nurturing environment for maturing minds.