We believe that classical education cultivates the human soul in ways that tests can never measure.
At Livingston Classical Academy we serve students Kindergarten through 12th grade. It is our goal to educate youth on our nation’s founding principles and empower them, as free citizens, to pursue a virtuous life of happiness and excellence.
The basis of the Academy curriculum is a collaboration between the school and the BCSI. BCSI works as a curricular advisor and has a complete set of curricular and resource recommendations from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The basis of that curriculum in kindergarten through eighth grades is the Core Knowledge Sequence, prepared by the Core Knowledge Foundation. Following BCSI recommendations, the Academy supplements the Core Knowledge Sequence with the literacy program developed by Access Literacy. The Academy supplements the Core Knowledge Sequence in mathematics by using the Singapore Math curriculum. The Academy also includes the teaching of Latin and Greek roots in grades four and five.
In the earliest grades, the curriculum focuses primarily on language, with the bulk of the school day given to teaching literacy and numeracy. Both subjects are foundational to a student’s education, so the resources and methods deployed in each case must be consistent and excellent. The Academy uses the Access Literacy program to teach literacy and related skills, and the Singapore Math Program to teach numeracy.
Access Literacy is a multi-sensory, brain-based approach for teaching phonics, spelling, reading, handwriting and grammar. The Access Literacy program teaches the 71 letter-sound (phonogram) combinations used in the English language, beginning with the easiest sight-to-sound correspondences, and working towards those that are most complex. Syllabication is critical to a proper understanding of letter-sound relationships, so the Access Literacy program teaches syllabication from the beginning of kindergarten. Alongside learning phonograms and implementing these into a potent spelling and vocabulary regimen, students using the Access Literacy program learn to handwrite, including cursive handwriting. As students grasp the basics of English literacy, the program lays a foundation in basic grammar and composition.
Teaching students to read is the primary focus of early elementary education at the Academy. Once students have transitioned from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” the focus of the Academy curriculum appropriately shifts. From mid-elementary forward, the curriculum places a strong emphasis on reading, and especially upon reading works of great literature.
Once students learn how to read, reading comprehension exercises are slowly replaced with literature. From third grade forward, literature becomes a primary component of the curriculum, one of the four curricular cores. Literature in the younger grades (especially in grades 3-5) exposes students to a certain level of cultural literacy and understanding, thereby allowing students to understand the literary traditions inherited from characters like Robin Hood and writers like Robert Louis Stevenson.
The Singapore Math Program provides students with a strong conceptual foundation in basic mathematics. From the earliest grades, this program emphasizes concepts, mental math and number sense while employing physical and graphical illustrations of underlying mathematical rules and phenomena. The program presents mathematical skill building and problem-solving such that students have a better understanding of not only when to use a particular equation, but why. Moving students on to higher levels of skills before students are ready is not an option, so the program is employed at each student’s ability level. Ability-level groups are determined at the beginning of each school year, and adjustments are made on an as-needed basis in order to best equip each student with the language of numeracy.
Key Characteristics and Components of Classical Teaching:
- A school that uses technology effectively but without diminishing the faculty leadership that is crucial to academic achievement.
- The centrality of the Western tradition in the study of history, literature, and philosophy.
- A rich and recurring examination of the American literary, moral, philosophical, political, and historical traditions.
- The use of explicit phonics instruction for the teaching of reading.
- The teaching of Latin.
- The acknowledgment of objective standards of correctness, logic, beauty, weightiness, and truth intrinsic to the liberal arts.
- The school culture demanding moral virtue, decorum, respect, discipline, and studiousness among the students and faculty.
- A curriculum that is content-rich.
- A faculty where well-educated and articulate teachers explicitly convey real knowledge to students using traditional teaching methods rather than using so-called ‘student-based learning’.
Why Do We Teach Latin?
Livingston Classical Academy teaches Latin to its students because it is beautiful! We want to give our students access to some of the greatest thinkers the world has ever known, and many of them recorded their ideas in Latin. While we want them to love Latin for its own sake, we also recognize a myriad of pragmatic reasons to pursue this discipline. Here are just a few of them:
- Latin teaches students to be attentive.
- Latin teaches students to love words. The precision of Latin provides students with a linguistic understanding that cannot be as thoroughly comprehended in their mother tongue. Using the right word, at the right time, and in the right context is empowered by the study of classical languages.
- Latin is a powerful vocabulary builder. Over 50% of English words come from Latin. One single Latin word may represent the roots of five to ten English words. By learning Latin prefixes and endings, as well as Latin roots, students are capable of comprehending many English words that they may not have previously studied.
- Training in Latin lays the foundation for learning other Latin-based (Romance) languages like French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian.
- For professional careers like medicine and law, Latin provides the base for many technical terms and names.
- Students who take 2 years of Latin score an average of 152 points higher on the SAT test.
- After one year of Latin, students have been shown to progress 4-12 months ahead of their peers in spelling, reading, vocabulary, science, history, and math problem solving.