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What Does Classical Education Look Like in Our Lower School?

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The first years of schooling are the “Grammar Stage” of the Trivium, not because students spend the entire time studying English, but because these are the years in which the building blocks for all learning are laid. In the Grammar stage, students enjoy memorizing and naturally absorb information. Therefore, during this period, education involves not just self-expression and self-discovery, but rather the learning of facts with a heavy emphasis placed on mastering the basic concepts of each subject area. Students learn the rules of phonics, spelling, and grammar, and memorize the foundational vocabulary of math, science and foreign language. History is taught on a timeline. By the time students exit the Lower School at Hill Country, they have memorized eighty key events and dates, which serves as a foundation for continued study in the Upper School. As students learn foundational mathematical concepts, mastery of math facts is required; therefore, students participate in daily math drills to build automaticity, which serves as a critical foundation for higher-level math.

We use teaching methods in the Lower School that are also uniquely Classical, including chanting, singing, rhyming, drills, and games. Hands-on work and the integration of subject areas are also used to facilitate comprehension. Learning through discovery brings units of study to life as students participate in grade-level events like Egyptian Day and the Renaissance Festival. Quality literature that has stood the test of time builds strong reading skills and enriches the study of many subjects.

The Classical approach also promotes development of logic and rhetoric skills at all stages. Through the use of questioning techniques and hands-on learning, teachers help students think logically and develop higher-order thinking skills. Even very young students are led to make applications, analyze and evaluate information, and create. Rhetoric skills are developed as students regularly participate in oral presentations and Bible recitations in class and in Speech Meet.

To learn more about the Lower School at Hill Country, visit the Lower School Academics page of our website.

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