Covenant seeks to holistically develop its students, mind, body and spirit, by utilizing a classical education model. Established during the age of scholars and philosophers, classical education provides a comprehensive approach to learning that aligns curriculum with a child’s natural development. The Trivium, a three-stage process of classical education, encompasses the following:
- The Grammar stage (elementary years) is primarily spent on learning and memorizing facts and supporting information, providing students with a solid foundation of factual information.
- The Logic stage (middle school years) is oriented toward the organization and analysis of facts. Students are exposed to various schools of thought and are trained to analyze information and think logically.
- The Rhetoric stage (high school years) is dedicated to persuasive expression (written and oral). Students are prepared to think critically and communicate their point of view persuasively by engaging in lively subject discussions with peers and instructors.
Classical education creates students that are life-long learners, equipping them with the spiritual and academic means to effectively engage the world around them in a biblical manner. Students are able to thrive in higher education and later career settings where they think critically at the highest academic levels, while also effectively engaging the great issues of our day in a manner that is informed, articulate and biblical. Covenant shepherds not only students’ minds but also their hearts and bodies for the glory of God, stressing the importance of truth, goodness, and beauty. We impart godly truths to our students that will outlast their short time at Covenant and help them to live virtuous lives as warriors for Christ.
Grammar Stage – Building a Foundation
The primary goal of Grammar instructors at Covenant is to assist children in cultivating the fundamental skills critical to cognitive development. At this age, students are naturally gifted in memorization and are able to absorb a significant amount of information, so we provide a variety of means for them to learn facts and information, such as singing songs, learning chants, reciting poetry, memorization, and exploration. Essentially, we are laying the foundation upon which all other learning will take place.
Students are prepped to master the humanities subjects by learning the rules of phonics and grammar, as well as a variety of spelling words. Our students also commit to memory the facts of math and science, from multiplication tables and formulas, to the laws of nature and traits of plants, animals and humans. Scripture memorization is practiced regularly as it is essential to the development of wisdom, knowledge and character.
Logic Stage – Developing Thinking Skills
Middle school is an especially important time in a child’s development because it is during this stage that children begin forming worldviews and thinking for themselves. They are no longer content to accept what their parents have told them but desire to know truth for themselves, many times becoming argumentative. Classical education understands that this is a natural development in students if students are going to become godly thinking adults. Rather than running from this developmental stage, Covenant embraces it by giving students the tools they need to analyze and reason in an appropriate and gracious manner (we jokingly say that if a student is going to argue, give them the tools to argue well). Covenant’s middle school instructors instill in students a biblical worldview, ensuring students reason correctly and pointing students to truth, goodness, and beauty.
Covenant middle school students enjoy a supportive environment in which they take Logic class, learning how to form arguments, order relationships, and analyze cause and effect. The principles of logic apply to a variety of academic disciplines, from math and science to the arts and humanities, strengthening students understanding in those areas. For example, logic strengthens writing as it allows students to methodically lay out their paragraphs in an English paper. It assists in computer classes, where students have to code for computer programming. In addition to informal and formal logic, students will begin to learn Latin during the middle school years. For a discussion of the benefits of Latin, please click here.
Committed to ensuring students receive a well-rounded education, Covenant also offers a host of exciting athletics programs, including basketball, volleyball, track and field, swimming, tennis, and other co-curricular activities, like clubs.
Rhetoric Stage – Thinking Critically and Communicating Persuasively
High school is a time in which Covenant students apply all of the individual components of their classical education and become true independent thinkers. By this stage of a student’s intellectual growth, they are able to take the foundational information they gained in the Grammar years, apply the rules of logic they learned in the Logic years, and then examine ideas critically, expressing their own thoughts persuasively with insight and eloquence. High school students desire to make an impact on the world around them, so it is critical that they see their place in the bigger picture.
To ensure Grammar students are prepared for collegiate success, Covenant equips students with a solid understanding of the integration of all knowledge and truth, and encourages them to think critically and biblically, whether discussing arts and humanities subjects or demonstrating mastery of essential math skills obtained from studying algebra, geometry, physics and calculus. In the Upper School years, Covenant uses the Thayer Method for mathematics and the Socratic Method for humanities to challenge students thinking and to develop their communication skills. A student’s experience at Covenant culminates with Rhetoric/Senior Thesis in which a student researches and defends his position on a topic in front of a panel of judges.
Classical education is focused on helping students write well, think well and articulate their thoughts well. Thus, the main focus is not a standardized test but rather a true understanding of a subject.
For additional information on Classical Education, please see the following resources.
The Case for Classical Education by Doug Wilson
Recovering the Lost Tools of Education by Doug Wilson
Wisdom and Eloquence by Robert Littlejohn and Charles Evans