We are a member of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education.
How is a “classical” curriculum different from what they’re doing in other schools?
Classical schools teach all of the subjects in an integrated manner. History, literature, philosophy, and theology are pursued together to create a rich experience with history throughout time.
Classical schools aim to cultivate wisdom and virtue through teaching students Latin, exposing them to “Great Books,” and focusing on appreciation of “beauty, goodness, and truth.”
Classical versus Secular
|Ordered toward eternal happiness||Ordered toward material ends|
|Integration of subjects, knowledge, faith||Fragmented, industrialized|
|Restores meaning and purpose||Focus on practical skills|
|Awakes wonder||Emphasis on information|
|Nurtures the moral imagination||Ignores the moral imagination|
|Cultivates habits of rigorous thinking||One mile wide, one inch deep|
|Constant discussion = active learning||Lectures + testing = passive learning|
|Develops intellectual freedom||Limits theological exposure|
Q. What is our mission at St. Monica Catholic School and the ultimate mission of Catholic education?
A. To assist in developing the whole child so that they may realize their full potential, fulfill their God-given purpose, and flourish in a Christ-centered, rigorous learning environment with Gospel values as the central foundation.
Q. How does a Catholic Classical Liberal model of education support our mission?
A. Catholic Liberal Education accomplishes this by:
- Revealing the true nature of God, His creation, the human person and our dignity, and God’s work throughout salvation history…which gives way to awe, wonder, joy, confidence, and the perspective required to discern purpose.
- Nurturing wisdom and virtue…which enlivens moral ethics and provides the foundation for understanding, compassion, and authentic love necessary for living as a disciple of Christ.
- Fostering recognition and love for truth, beauty, and goodness…which instills a desire to know, defend, and participate in God’s work and to strive for excellence in all things.
- Providing every child with the tools of learning, thinking, and communicating necessary for mastery…which results in a well-trained mind able to accomplish great works, serve, influence, and lead.
Q. What is unique to the Catholic Liberal Arts Education methodology?
A. Elements of Catholic Liberal Arts Education methodology:
- A program of study modeled after the Trivium based on grammar, logic, and rhetoric, engages the natural stages of a child’s development and their desire to learn. It encourages them to rigorously learn fundamental facts and truths, ask questions, think deeply and critically, and effectively communicate what they discover.
- A curriculum that is integrated (inter-disciplinary) and scaffolded (frequent return to concepts and deepening of knowledge and understanding) aids in establishing connections, cementing concepts, and promoting relational thinking.
- A chronological history of Catholic history and Christian anthropology provide the backbone of the curriculum in order to enrich all subject matter and provide perspective and relevancy.
- Exposure to excellence and the work of the greatest thinkers, creators, and communicators in history inspires students to great purpose and achievement.
- The study and development of wisdom and virtue are at the core of building character in every child, so they may grow fully and with integrity.
- Emphasis on strong grammar skills provides a structure for understanding and conveying knowledge; the foundation for a well-formed intellect and mastery in all subject matter.
Q. What are the proven results of a Catholic Liberal Arts Education regarding academics?
- Many of the greatest minds in our history were classically educated: Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO), Susan Wojcicki (YouTube CEO), Jack Ma (Alibaba Chairman), Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs (Apple).
- Students that have been classically educated typically perform in the top 15 percent on standardized tests.
- Classically educated students are well prepared to be accepted into good colleges and many qualify for highly selective colleges and universities.
- People like Steve Jobs have insisted that classically educated people are more successful in their careers (even in high tech fields) and make better entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business persons as they are more equipped to think and communicate well.
Q. What are other testaments to the success of this educational philosophy and model?
A. Encouraging facts:
- It is the fastest-growing educational model in the nation (including Catholic schools, Christian private schools, and charter public schools).
- In some cases, entire Catholic dioceses have transitioned to this model with great success, Michigan Diocese of Marquette.
- Many Catholic schools are experiencing a boost in enrollment due to the intentionality of the methodology and the tried and true nature of the model.
- Mary Pat Donahue, founder of the “Institute for Liberal Education”, was recently hired by the USCCB to head oversight of Catholic Education in the United States.
Q. How will a new focus on Catholic Liberal Arts affect how STEM subjects are integrated?
A. Science, Technology, Engineering, Math:
- Science/Engineering and Math will continue to be strong subjects that integrate well into a Catholic Classical Liberal Arts cross-disciplinary program.
- We plan to place a greater emphasis on the language of technology and computer programming as part of our curriculum.
- As our philosophy on incorporating technology evolves and as we learn more about the developmental needs of our students, we will assess and put forward a renewed effort to be good stewards of the resources that are available to us and provide a strong foundation for our students in an ever-changing technological world.
Q. How will a new focus on Catholic Liberal Education affect how STEM subjects are integrated?
A. Science/Engineering and Math will continue to be strong subjects that integrate well into a Catholic Liberal Arts cross-disciplinary program. Quality STEM learning experiences require students of life to pause and wonder and engage spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
With a Catholic lens, STEM subjects at St. Monica provides a focus for us to show appreciation, care, and reverence for God’s creation. We continue to encourage investigation and creativity as responsible stewards of our planet. As stewards of God’s creation, quality STEM learning experiences challenge students to develop higher-order thinking skills through processes such as inquiry, problem-solving, and creative thinking. Students are regularly challenged by complex problems that are related to real-world scenarios.
We plan to place a greater emphasis on the language of technology and computer programming as part of our curriculum. As our philosophy on incorporating technology evolves and as we learn more about the developmental needs of our students, we will assess and put forward a renewed effort to be good stewards of the resources that are available to us and provide a strong foundation for our students in an ever-changing technological world.
Q. What is St. Monica’s approach to homework in light of a Catholic Liberal Education?
A. At the Grammar level (K-5), learning takes place largely in the context of the relationship between student and teacher. That means schoolwork should, for the most part, be done at school. Homework that is assigned will be age-appropriate, subject, and goal-oriented.
However, students will need some amount of extra practice in specific or new concepts, skills, or facts. In certain subjects (e.g., math or languages), regular practice at home may be necessary for mastery. We also recognize that parents are the primary educators of their child and that our collaboration and communication with parents is essential. Our teachers will keep parents informed as to the current topics of study in the class.