A good education should be more than just training people to function at a particular job, or conform to the latest cultural or political fads. It should be devoted to helping young students become special kinds of persons, human beings who have learned to love wisdom, virtuous conduct, and the joy of learning itself. Abington Christian Academy is proud to participate in a centuries-old tradition of classical education devoted to nurturing the full potential of young people, while teaching them to recognize and pursue only the best that life and learning have to offer.
To this end we introduce our youngest students to phonics, our first graders to grammar, and our third and fourth graders to Latin. Why Latin? Latin is an orderly and systematic language that teaches precision and detail, the very habits of mind needed for logical, careful, analytical thinking. Children who study Latin become better students of English, better readers, and – as an added bonus – develop the mental habits required by higher level mathematics and science!
It is no surprise that our focus on language includes assigned reading of literature best described as The Great Books for children. Since we want to teach our students to love what is beautiful, what is wise, and what is virtuous, we believe that reading beautiful, wise books, books which ultimately teach virtuous behavior, is an enjoyable and effective means to attain those goals.
Math is another essential tool of learning that is so fundamental that we begin with our youngest students to develop respect for, and mastery of this mind-forming subject so maligned by so many today. Children in the Pre-K4 program learn not only to recognize numbers, but to write numbers, and count numbers as well. Kindergarten students learn to tell time, to “skip count”, and to learn addition and subtraction through five. And because our approach is based on the classical liberal arts model of education, children learn that all subjects are good, are important, and are fundamentally related to each other. The practical and far-reaching result is that children do not go through our program believing that math is non-essential, unrelated to the real world, something that only specially gifted people can be good at.
Along with the educational pillars of reading and math we have designed what we believe is an ideal sequence for introducing these other essential subjects: Bible, History, Science, Grammar, Penmanship, Phonics, Spelling, Literature, as well as Music, Art, and Physical Education. There are good reasons for why these have historically been referred to as the “Liberal Arts”. Students who become accomplished in these things are truly liberated persons – free persons – people whose well-furnished minds allow them to live well-ordered lives and to keep on learning for the rest of their lives.