We believe in the exposure to good quality literature from an early age. Throughout the grades we move from fairy tales and fables, to early readers (Frog and Toad), then short novels with reading
questions (Charlotte’s Web, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), and finally more challenging novels (Treasure Island, A Christmas Carol, Animal Farm, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Homer’s The Odyssey),
plus short stories and poetry. Our program entails the study of grammar, development of good writing skills, acquisition of diverse vocabulary, and regular spelling tests. Our students learn to form proper sentences, then write clear paragraphs, and finally construct
a five-paragraph essay.
We strongly believe in establishing basic math facts in the early grades in order to ensure our students have a strong foundation to enable them to go on to more complex problems, but perhaps even more importantly, to give them the confidence to do so. They do regular speed drills and testing and by the end of grade 3 have the multiplication table to 12 fully memorized. In the older grades they are able to move to complex word problems, and study algebra and geometry. We desire our students to understand and discover the beauty of math, as it represents the order and symmetry of God’s creation.
We use a program that presents history from ancient days to the middle ages and early modern times, including the explorers, to modern events in the 19th and 20th centuries. It includes a unit on pioneer times for the younger students and Canadian history for the older students. The students learn historical facts and study maps and biographies of important figures. The older students begin to look more carefully at historical causation, and the patterns of human behaviour through the centuries. In the 7th and 8th grades, our students return to ancient times and begin to rely on primary and secondary sources, preparing them for future research.
Our primary goal in science is to teach observation skills and to engage the senses in order to create a sense of wonder of the world God has created. We cover many disciplines throughout the years: Earth Science: astronomy and geology, oceanic life, weather and climate; Life Science: trees and plants, reptiles, insects, birds and mammals; the Human Body: human anatomy and physiology; Chemistry and Physics. Our students study and memorize basic facts, and as they get older, they are able to do more investigation and classification. The senior students also begin to learn the fascinating history of medicine.
French begins in grade one, with an emphasis on vocabulary acquisition, the structures of grammar, and proper pronunciation. It is a phonetic and grammatical approach, with a strong emphasis placed on acquiring proper grammar skills, including verb conjugation, developing conversation skills, memorizing classical poetry, and reading various levels of French literature.
Our grades 4 - 8 students receive Latin instruction. They methodically work through grammatical structures, pronunciations, vocabulary, and spelling. They learn to do translations of increasing complexity. Why Latin, you may ask? As stated by Dorothy Sayers, a strong proponent of the resurgence of classical education: "Latin is the key to the vocabulary and structure of the Romance languages and to the structure of all the Teutonic languages, as well as to the technical vocabulary of all the sciences and to the literature of the entire Mediterranean civilization, together with all its historical documents."
Read more about the importance of learning Latin here.
Our students enjoy scheduled physical education classes throughout the week where they play active games, learn new skills in different sports, and develop good sportsmanship in competitive games. In warm weather there are frequent trips to local parks and in the winter time our older students will occasionally go to a local rink for an afternoon of skating. In addition, our Friday afternoon program is a concentrated time of sports and physical activity, including weekly swimming lessons at local pools throughout the winter.
Logic is the science of correct reasoning and as our older students enter into the logic stage we see they are more naturally inclined to question and argue. Our grades 7 and 8 students take logic classes where they are given a toolkit to help them evaluate truth claims by enabling them to test whether a given conclusion really does follow from a given set of assertions. These skills are applied and used in virtually every other class. For example, students in history, literature, or science classes are required to think logically about the content they study and to expose any fallacies they detect in texts and presentations. Their writing in these classes will be assessed for their logical sharpness, and examinations will also presuppose and exercise logical skill.
The younger grades work their way through the Old Testament, as their teachers read aloud to them each day. They become familiar with the stories, characters, and themes from these times as they learn about God’s covenant with His people. Our grades 5-8 students enjoy a Bible class each week where they learn about and memorize the names of all the books of the Bible, and discover the relevancy of biblical teaching to all of life. They develop a working knowledge of a biblical timeline and narrative and do in-depth study of certain biblical passages. By grades 7 and 8 they are introduced to biblical languages, to a historical, grammatical interpretation of scripture, to an understanding of canonicity and to the relationship of divine inspiration and human authorship. Our goal is to help develop a desire to learn more about God and His plans for us throughout our lives, as our students are immersed in His word.
From grades 1 to 8 music skills are taught through choral singing, solfege (ear-training), rhythmic dictation, music history, and listening to classical music. The students learn to sing beautiful sacred choral music, which they perform in rounds and in two-part harmony at school concerts and outreach events, such as retirement homes.
Art lessons involve the use of various media and teaching methods. Our students learn different techniques and become trained to look for and achieve beauty in their work. The students are given opportunities throughout the year to proudly display their work at different events. Our older students also follow a four-year curriculum that teaches them the history of art; studying the great artists and the times that formed them exposes the students to great beauty and inspiration, as they create beautiful works of art themselves.
Drama classes are held for our grades 5-8 students. In addition to learning the history of theatre and engaging in fun improvisation games and activities, the students work hard every year to prepare plays, one for the 5/6 class and another for the 7/8 class. In the past these have included Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Sophocles' Antigone, and the medieval morality play Everyman.