OUR ACADEMIC PROGRAM
The Academic program at Westminster Academy is the result of a thoughtful, intentional process which benefits from over twenty years of Classical Christian practice beginning in 1980 with the formation of the Logos School in Moscow, Idaho. In addition, and in truth, it is pedagogy born out of 1,500 years of development and practice.
Following is a description of our academic program for Kindergarten through grade Twelve.
Classical Education promotes a distinctive approach to education by emphasizing certain skills and concepts at the appropriate times in relation to the students' development.
(Also see "A Classical Curriculum Explained" on our School Profile)
Kindergarten - Sixth Grade:
These are the years that are the most crucial in cultivating habits of the soul and mind. Because of the impressionable nature of the child at this age it is necessary to focus on those studies which cultivate the skills essential for learning. This being the case, the focus is on language and literature (see Early Training for a Classical Mind.) These mediums have traditionally been key to developing the ingrained habits of learning. The focus is on developing language and logical categories through prose. Because the goal is integrated thinking the distinctions between the content of "subjects" are not emphasized, but all knowledge is unified in an effort to cultivate the skills of the Trivium. The Trivium, or "three ways" are the verbal arts of Grammar (linking concepts to symbols), Dialectic (correctly reasoning), and Rhetoric (persuasively expressing and communicating.). All the while, the teacher focuses on preparing the child to interact with knowledge. To develop the foundational art of classical instruction, dialectic, the teacher moves the child to the right answers through Socratic instruction and seeks to train the child to ask the right questions. Through this process the imagination is continually trained through good stories and exposure to poetry with the goal of training the mind while instilling wonderment.
Seventh - Ninth Grade:
At this age, the child begins to study all areas of knowledge as formal subjects. Because the emphasis has been placed in the earlier years on the skills (or "arts") of learning, the students can now confidently begin to work through the particular knowledge in various fields of academics. The skill of analysis, or the ability to "break-down" information is cultivated - the beginning of the "sciences" of learning. The development of formal and inquiry and observation is important at this age. The focus is now not only correct thinking, but developing arguments and speaking/expressing in an appropriate and formal way. Formal logic (see Why Logic?) is an essential requirement at this stage and these skills are embodied through writing, presenting, and debate - both formal and informal.
Tenth - Twelfth:
The culmination of classical learning is the synthesis of all learning and the understanding of purpose. These years focus on cultivating within the student an understanding of the philosophy and theology of subjects. The student is urged into advanced studies emphasizing complex reasoning and stylistic expression. While seeking to instill in each student a desire for contemplation and an appreciation for learning. It is important for the student to gain an understanding relationship between the philosophical and practical aspects of life and learning. Formal rhetoric (see Why Rhetoric?) is the anchor class at this level and the students are required to develop, deliver, and defend one to two thesis papers before peers, faculty, and parents each year (see Rhetoric Presentations). The senior Capstone course serves as the culmination of our students� formal education at Westminster. Using authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche the class examines the great thoughts of Western culture through a diaolgue intensive structure involving students and our senior faculty.