Grammar School Overview
The Grammar School aspires to provide a “rich” education, the type that C.S. Lewis described as “a proper study for princes.” All children thrive on a diet of worthy ideas, and these ideas are found primarily in living books and the Western cultural heritage. Students are also trained in habits of the heart – attention, respect, and responsibility – so as to bring focus to the art and craft of their own learning.
The philosophies of the 19th century educator Charlotte Mason are evident throughout the Grammar School’s curriculum in the form of narrations, recitations, copybooks, nature appreciation, and short lessons. All of these things are employed to encourage students to become lovers of knowledge who want to learn for learning’s sake, not to earn a grade or simply regurgitate answers on a test.
KindergartenOur curriculum in kindergarten lays the foundation for future academic success with developmentally appropriate readiness activities in all skill areas. In our learning-to-read program we use materials which employ a consistent phonetic interpretation of the written language. In math we emphasize both the grammar of the rudimentary number concepts with the logic of hands-on manipulatives to aid in understanding. We enlarge the child’s environment through the discovery of nature and the physical world around him.
We lay a foundation for relational learning through learning about and serving the communities in which we live. Finally, we engage the innate sense of wonder in children by introducing them to a broad banquet of ideas.
Grades 1 & 2These grades provide the basic tools of learning in the key areas of reading, writing, and mathematics, and are enhanced by units of study and inquiry in the fields of science, history and geography. Key elements center on the development of habits of mind and spirit such as attentiveness, respect, responsibility, and reverence. Students will participate in art, poetry, nature, and music studies.
Teachers will enliven the minds of the children towards great literature by reading aloud to them from many living books relative to their course of study.
Grade 3Grade Three is a study of the world at large. Students begin with local geography (Arizona) and then begin an exploration of the continents, oceans, landforms, climates, peoples, and cultures of the world. The year is to be an overview for the emphasis upon history in later grades.
By this time, the student has gained some proficiency and independence in the core subjects of reading, language arts and writing, and mathematics. At this point, students are exposed to literature which integrates with their geography studies (e.g., Heidi, Swiss Family Robinson).
Students are introduced to basic research techniques and complete copybooks revealing their growing understanding and assimilation of the world about them. Map-reading and map-making, weather and climate, and the properties of air will bring science into the Grade Three curriculum.
Art, music, poetry, nature studies, recitations, and Shakespeare studies continue as with other grades. Latin studies also begin in Grade Three.
Grade 4Students in Grade Four begin a chronological study of history starting with creation and culminating in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. They also cover United States history during the 1700s. Students continue to keep copybooks in which they themselves chronicle their discoveries category by category and begin to understand the flow of history.
Students hone the art of oral and written narration and become more familiar with the writing process of searching and gathering resources, drafting, editing, proofing, and writing final copy. Integrating Bible, science, literature, art and music appreciation, and recitations with history units serves to make learning a rich banquet of ideas and enables students to make important connections.
Grade 5The chronological study of history continues in Grade Five with the Middle Ages and an overview of the 1800s in the United States.
An increased emphasis upon research provides students with tools for “finding out” in an organized manner. The use of additional research methods in preparation for a formal research report, in conjunction with living books, and hands-on learning makes history come alive.
Again, the art, nature, poetry, and music studies and recitations follow along with the period of history covered. Students continue to learn Latin and keep nature sketchbooks.
The fifth grade class takes center stage in the annual Shakespeare production held in the Catalina Foothills Church sanctuary, which is transformed into the Globe Theater. In addition to academics, fifth grade students are given leadership opportunities and responsibilities in morning chapel, opening exercises, and younger classrooms.