Frequently Asked Questions

What is a classical model of education?

Generally speaking, educational philosophies distill into one of two basic models, The cognitive developmental model and the behavioral model. The cognitive developmental model teaches a core of knowledge in a way that challenges the student’s thinking. The imparting of wisdom goes beyond the assimilation of facts to the teaching of values, truth, decision-making, and critical thinking. This model was perfected in the 15th and 16th centuries and educated most of the great thinkers and artists of the Renaissance and early Reformation periods. It was used almost exclusively in schools until around 1950 when the behavioral model stepped forward.

The model that most influences our country’s schools and teacher training today is the behavioral model. Developed early in the 20th century, this model is built upon the principle of communicating information to the students and measuring their learning by how they recall and report that information on a test. Practical application and depth of understanding are not as strongly emphasized with this model. This model of teaching has been said to create technicians designed to produce good test scores rather than students equipped with knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and truth.

Christ Classical School utilizes a cognitive-developmental model commonly referred to as the classical model. It best respects the developmental stages of a child’s learning abilities and teaches in such a way as to take advantage of and build upon those natural stages of cognitive maturation. Teaching and learning, therefore, follow a pattern from the more concrete to the more abstract. The classical model is built upon the Trivium used in the Middle Ages.

“The classical model excels in an understanding of the normal phases that students go through and relies on disciplines that have proven successful in ages past such as logic, Latin, and debate to best educate the child. It is the most successful application of the cognitive developmental model throughout history, and was the standard for education until the advent of the behavioral model in the 20th century. Utilization of this model in Christian education is not a venture into uncharted territory, but a return to the model with the best track record in history!” – Gary Watt, University of Warwick

To learn more about classical Christian movement, how it got started and why, then we invite you to watch these two videos…time well spent.  Geronimo, Amen Part 1.  And, Part 2.”


What is the Trivium?
“Whom will He teach knowledge? And whom will He make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” – Isaiah 28:9-10 NKJ

The word “trivium” comes from the Latin prefix “tri” meaning “three,” and the Latin root “via” meaning “way,” or “road.” The word literally means “the three-fold way or road.” The trivium refers to the three stages, or ways, of learning that coincide with a child’s cognitive development as he matures. We should begin a look at the trivium–the three stages of learning–by reminding ourselves that the trivium is not some arbitrary theory of teaching methodology or new fad of learning philosophy. Rather, the trivium was developed by long trial and error, through the observation of the ancients in the way children learn during the whole course of their instruction from young child to young adult. They realized that time after time, they followed three stages in the learning process. They simply pointed out what was obviously there; what God had designed: that there are three stages, which they named Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric; and they progress in that order. Think of Sir Isaac Newton. He didn’t invent the three laws of motion (God did that when He created the universe), but after careful observation, he defined them by stating what was already there. So it is with the trivium. We might even call the trivium the three laws of learning.

Why learn Latin?
This question is perhaps best answered by a quote from Dorothy L. Sayers:

“I will say at once, quite firmly, that the best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this, not because Latin is traditional and medieval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning any other subject by at least fifty percent.”

At Christ Classical School, formal instruction in Latin begins in the 3rd grade. By introducing a child to the language at an early age we take educational advantage of a child’s great capacity for learning vocabulary and his/her love for the rhythmic chanting of verb conjugations and noun declensions. The exercise of fitting the meaning, tense, number, case and gender of a Latin word to its English equivalent strongly develops analytical skills as well as vocabulary. A 1981 study of SAT scores placed students of Latin above students of French, Spanish, German, and Hebrew on analytical as well as verbal tests. Latin students scored an average of 134 points above the national average on verbal and 119 points above the average on analytical tests.

Isn’t classical education outdated?
Classical education teaches students facts, provides them with logical tools to use those facts, and perfects the student’s ability to relate those facts to others. This fundamental skill-set is more valuable today than it has ever been. The process of teaching students to think extends far beyond filling their heads with knowledge. Modern education, to varying degrees, has succeeded in teaching facts and some skills. Classical education helps students draw original, creative, and accurate conclusions from facts and then formulate those conclusions into logical and persuasive arguments. Modern subjects based in science and technology are taught in classical schools, through classical methods. Parents who are exposed to classical education recognize that its “back to the basics” approach contrasts with the distractions of modern education. Is the classical method applicable in a modern, technological age? The technology we have today was invented, in large part, by the classically educated. Man inhabited the earth for thousands of years without developing technology until the last two centuries. It is no coincidence that the groundwork for these achievements was laid within the last 400 years when classical education was at its height. Classical education teaches children the timeless skills of thinking, reasoning, logic, and expression. Our subject matter is as up-to-date as that found in any modern school. We simply add a depth and dimension through this time-tested method unseen in most modern schools.
How can I learn more about classical education?
“For the Lord gives wisdom;From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.”
– Proverbs 2:6-11(NKJV)

There is truly a wealth of resources available on classical education. Listed below are just a few. See also the About Christ Classical link to find out about Christ Classical School’s philosophy and practices.

Association of Classical and Christian Schools

Who is eligible to enroll at Christ Classical?

Christ Classical School is a covenantal community, seeking to provide a stimulating academic program in a culture of grace and truth. Families (one parent) entering Christ Classical School must profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, demonstrate an understanding of the school philosophy and purpose, and show evidence of agreement with the school Honor Code. Christ Classical School currently accepts students in grades K-6th grade. Parents seeking to provide their children with an academic and social environment that is both stimulating and Christ-centered will find a home at Christ Classical School.

“For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments.” -Psalm 78:5-7 (NKJ)

How do I get more information about Christ Classical and admissions?

You are welcome to visit the Admissions page or call us at 805-453-6161. Even better, we invite you to come in, see our campus, see our students in action, and meet us. We would love to learn more about your family and show you the school as you discern what is best for your children. Call us at 805-453-6161 to schedule a tour with the Head of School, Mr. Matthew LaFon.