Classical Education centers around seven liberal arts. Historically, the foundational verbal arts (Trivium, or "three ways" see classical liberal arts) were the fundamental skills without which education would be severely lacking in its effectiveness. As crucial as the arts of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric (see Why Rhetoric?) were in the process of educating students, Logic (also known as Dialectic) was called the "art of arts". Out of all the verbal arts (even the mathematical arts), logic was the cornerstone.
Today, many are mistaken in the idea that logic is mathematical by nature, but traditionally this hasnít been the case. Logic has its first and foremost grounding in language. It is the skill of correct thinking and conceptual development. It is the thinking through of similarities, comparisons, and differences in order to induce the correct general conclusions. Dialectic is seen as the "foundational art" because it is developed at the beginning of educational training and is active throughout the studentís education. In our curriculum at Westminster Academy, we seek to teach formal, deductive logic only after mastery of the above skills. These classes begin in the seventh grade. (see School Profile - Classical Curriculum Explained)
Through focusing on the skill of dialectic early through language and literature and through the teaching of formal logic as a subject in the middle school years, we equip the student to think clearly and correctly in all subject areas (to be able - see mission statement - "to reason and discern..."). At Westminster Academy, our goal is to "produce" a student who can not only analyze, but can also synthesize. We seek to train the child to seek meaning not in the particulars, but to investigate the particulars and order them purposefully to find meaning. For the Christian, that means tracing all of life to the very person of God.