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Classical, Christian Distinctives

What is a classical, Christian education? A classic is anything that endures because of its universal quality and recognized value.  The best of the literature and language of the Western Tradition therefore provides the source material for our curriculum.  Our students focus on the great books and the languages that have profoundly shaped our world.  While there is no standardized curriculum that defines its content, a classical education concerns itself with the training of the mind built upon a Christian moral foundation.

At its core a classical education is based on the centuries-old Trivium, which refers to three modes of learning from early childhood through adolescence. The modes of grammar, dialectic and rhetoric are less like stages of learning, but more aptly describe the modes of learning. The end goal is not only to teach a student what to know, but how to think.

A classical, Christian education is rooted in the liberal arts, and introduces a student to the language and conversation of men and women who speak to us through the books they left behind. Accordingly, at New Covenant, we begin by teaching students the languages in which that conversation has been conducted (primarily English, Greek and Latin), preparing them to appreciate the richness of a liberal arts education.

New Covenant views classical education as a vital means of preserving and passing along the essential elements of our culture and values, especially the Christian faith. Our program recognizes the interrelation of subjects, and frames every topic from music and the visual arts to science and languages, within the context of a Christian worldview.

Many educators recognize that Dorothy L. Sayers’ essay, entitled “The Lost Tools of Learning,” has provided impetus for the revival of classical education. First delivered as a speech at Oxford in 1947, this essay is a compelling call for a return to the enduring educational content and values that has profoundly shaped our world. While it is by no means the first word – or the last – New Covenant Schools has constructed its curriculum using the Sayers essay as a framework for guidance on broad points.  You can download a .pdf copy of the essay The Lost Tools of Learning.