From Pre-K to 6th grade, the academic curriculum centers on the Art of Grammar and Arithmetic. Grammar may be defined as the art of utilizing (reading) and inventing (writing) symbols. Arithmetic as the art of discrete objects. (Joseph, The Trivium, p.3)
Writing instructions is vertically integrated. That simple means that skills build on one another. Further, students use all previous skills even as they learn new ones. Those skill sets include our explicit phonics program. Also, Cursive First, copybooks, sentence variations, and the Progymnasmata.
Reading instruction advances through three stages. Our K-12 reading program contains five stages. (Chall, Stages of Reading Development)
The first two stages, “decoding” and “fluency” beginning in Pre-K. The reading curriculum includes our explicit phonics program (serving double duty with writing instruction). Also, Read Naturally; in-class “read alouds;” and our independent reading program.
The second and third grades begin the third stage of reading. This third stage is “comprehension.” The skills clusters take center-stage from 4th-6th grade. They include activating background knowledge. Also, identifying text structure, making predictions, creating questions, forming images, self-monitoring, and summarizing.
As soon as students are able to decode they begin an independent reading program. This program increases the difficulty of books as the students’ skills grow. The material we use for our reading instruction varies. It includes the Bible, fiction, poetry, and expository literature. The expository books and articles include history, biography and science texts.
Arithmetic begins with the discrete skills of the Arabic numerals. Students learn these in PreK and K. The mathematical skills also are vertically integrated. They advance to the introductions of algebraic concepts in the 6th grade.
The Quadrivium exists to understanding matter. Matter includes everything in the created order. We continue to learn more about the natural world over time. So, the Arts of the Quadrivium have expanded. at Whitefield Academy. They include studies relating to the physical world and advanced mathematics.
However, because God is unchanging, so is the image of God in man. The arts of the Trivium image God in man. They are the same today as they were thousands of years ago, because the nature of the human mind has not changed.
During these years we are also teaching Religious and Moral instruction. This includes listening to, memorizing, and later, reading Scripture. Beginning in Pre-K we introduce and seek to cultivate good learning habits. These habits include listening and talking skills. Being attentive and kind. These will set a standard for, and establish, our School’s classroom norms.