“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
Christian education is based on the premise that parents have a moral responsibility to raise their children in the “training and education of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4) and that a Christian understanding of life makes a profound difference in what happens in classrooms.
But authentic Christian education involves more than simply offering chapel and Bible classes; it involves a comprehensive and holistic approach to forming the Christian identity of students through study, prayer, worship, and service. Authentic Christian education is more than the transference of Bible knowledge, it is the transmission of values, culture, worldview, and the proper ordering of loves.
Annapolis is a place where Christian faith impacts the atmosphere, curriculum, and teaching practices. It is a place where life’s most important questions — What is my ultimate purpose in life? Does God exist? Are there moral absolutes? — are openly discussed. It’s a place where prayer, worship, and spiritual formation are part of the ethos and atmosphere in which students live and breathe.
Rooted in the historic Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman tradition of the liberal arts and sciences, Classical Christian education has a breathtaking 2,500 years of unbroken educational success.
Grounded in piety and guided by theology, the Classical Christian tradition offers an integrated, holistic, and humanizing curriculum with a track record for producing the greatest intellectual, religious, artistic, and technological achievements of Western Civilization.
Beneath the literary masterpieces of Homer, Virigil, Dante, and Milton, the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Descartes, the theologies of St. Paul, St. Augustine, Calvin, and Luther, the artistic genius of Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet, and Renoir, the scientific theories of Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, the music of Bach, Beethoven, Hayden, and Handel, and the political writings of Locke, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin — beneath all of these cultural monuments lies the foundation of a classical Christian education.
A far cry from the secular progressive obsession with high stakes testing and “cram, pass, forget” techniques, Classical Christian education offers a coherent new “old-way” of educating students with a long history of producing successful cultural leaders and informed citizens.
The goal of this tradition of education is to cultivate those unique human powers of reasoning, speaking, writing, questioning, observing, appreciating and creating that reflect the image of God in us and enable us to fulfill our unique human destiny: to live freely and to know God.The
“When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put away childish things.” I Cor. 13:11
Children are not smaller versions of adults. They learn, speak, think, and move differently than adults as they mature through discernible developmental stages. Like so many other great ideas, classical Christian education is simple yet profound: teach kids in the ways they naturally want to be taught by teaching them what they want to know when they want to know it.
Early Childhood (PK3 & PK4):
A crucially important preparatory stage when “the cement is still wet.” Children are encouraged to develop a love of learning through both student and teacher directed activities using multi-sensory play, singing, games, and body movements. This critical period is also where children are trained to respect rules, submit to authority, follow instructions, and maintain friendships in the context of a nurturing environment .
Pre-Grammar Years (K – 2nd):
The key to success in later stages of learning is a strong foundation in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Phonics, quality children’s literature, and memorization of math facts ensure students at this stage of learning possess the essential skills of independent learning. In addition, the Pre-Grammar years help establish young souls in piety, gymnastic, and music—priming and cultivating the affections, loves, wills, and bodies of children at a time when they are docile, receptive, and eager.
Grammar Stage (3rd – 6th):
In addition to the formal study of Latin and English grammar and composition, a Classical Grammar school education involves learning the rules and basic vocabulary of traditional content and subject areas: the who, what, when, and where of traditional subject areas (i.e. math, language, history, science physical education and fine arts). These basic tools are what we call the “grammar” of each subject and our task is to build these tools in a fun and meaningful way that appeals to a child. Children at this stage of development enjoy memorizing and possess an amazing cognitive capacity for it; so the grammar years are spent memorizing vast quantities of information from across the spectrum of academic disciplines.
Logic Stage (7th-8th):
Junior high students are naturally inquisitive and want to know the “why” of things, so we develop their ability to reason and discern truth through training in formal logic and analytical reasoning. The foundational elements learned at the grammar stage become the building blocks for complex reasoning and relational thinking at the logic stage. Students at this age have a unique blend of cultivated talents and undiscovered gifts, and are also growing and developing at different speeds, and so our curriculum is sensitive to challenging each student individually—providing the right level of academic challenge to stretch students to their full capability. Outside the classroom, from the lunchroom to the athletic fields, students learn what it means to respect themselves, their peers, and those who care for them. In chapel and Bible class, and even more so through the full range of Annapolis experiences, we challenge students to understand the Truth of Christ—to cast off the world’s preoccupation with self-centered values. As students begin preparing for high school and the rhetoric stage, the School of Logic experience culminates in the junior thesis project, a capstone project that brings together what students have learned so far and provides an introduction to research and formal argument.
Rhetoric Stage (9th-12th):
High school students want to express themselves, so we teach them how to present their ideas persuasively using rhetoric. Students learn to inspire their audience toward truth, goodness, and beauty. This is not only applicable in public speaking and debate, but in every discipline. A great work of art does more than please the eye; it communicates a message inspiring action. Great feats of athleticism inspire awe. Those who grasp calculus see and communicate mathematical beauty. The culmination of the rhetoric student’s hard work is their Senior Thesis project, an opportunity to bring together skill in research, logic, writing, and oration, presenting an argument to the school community and a panel of judges.