PETRA ACADEMY DISTINCTIVES

Classical Christian education is methodology of instruction that centers on formation of the individual in community. The methods and curriculum aim to develop well-rounded graduates whose affections are cultivated to love what is true, good, and beautiful.

 Following the classical methodology of the Trivium, Petra recognizes the importance of a robust curriculum focused on the grammar, logic, and rhetoric of learning. Petra also believes that combining the Quadrivium provides the most thorough education for our students and families.  The format of the progression of classical Christian education works through begins with a pre-grammar stage (PreK-K) and then transitions into three principal schools of instruction for the cognitive development of elementary and secondary students: the grammar school (1-6), the dialectic school (7-9), and the rhetoric school (10-12)

THE PRE-GRAMMaR SCHOOL

The Classical Approach

The classical and Christian approach to education is designed to parallel child development by matching the way that students learn at different ages with the methods used to teach. Our goal for the students is restful learning.  Understanding the frame of our students allows us to bring joy to their learning.

THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL

Observing with Humility

Young children in the elementary grades (grammar) easily learn and remember things they have heard in rhythm and rhyme. For this reason, classical education uses a large variety of chants and songs to reinforce student learning of the fundamentals (grammar) of each discipline.

THE DIALECTIC AND LOGIC SCHOOL

Thinking with Reason

Middle school children (dialectic/logic) are similarly distinguished in their propensity to question and argue; they want reasons for things. Again the classical approach seeks to meet these students in their natural disposition by using logic as the lens (debate, animated discussion, persuasive writing) to aid students in the acquisition of learning at this stage.

THE RHETORIC SCHOOL

Articulating with Charity

Finally, high school students (rhetoric) become increasingly concerned with how a person presents themselves to others with a keener eye for style. In the rhetoric stage, classical schools teach students how to make clear and persuasive presentations of what they have learned, both orally and in writing.

THE PETRA METHODOLOGY

Whereas these schools are suggestive of different methods of teaching, the goal of each is to equip students with the tools to observe humbly, think logically, and articulate charitably, all while cultivating a deepening aesthetic appreciation for God’s world. The five overarching distinctives of a Petra Academy education are:

AGE-SPECIFIC PRE-K THROUGH 12 LEARNING

The classical and Christian approach to education is designed to parallel child development by matching the way that students learn at different ages with the methods used to teach. Young children in the elementary grades (grammar) easily learn and remember things they have heard in rhythm and rhyme. For this reason, classical education uses a large variety of chants and songs to reinforce student learning of the fundamentals (grammar) of each discipline.

Middle school children (dialectic/logic) are similarly distinguished in their propensity to question and argue; they want reasons for things. Again the classical approach seeks to meet these students in their natural disposition by using logic as the lens (debate, animated discussion, persuasive writing) to aid students in the acquisition of learning at this stage. Finally, high school students (rhetoric) become increasingly concerned with how a person presents themselves to others with a keener eye for style. In the rhetoric stage, classical schools teach students how to make clear and persuasive presentations of what they have learned, both orally and in writing.

TIME-TESTED METHOD & CONTENT

The classical method takes its name, “classical,” because its methods date back to the classical cultures of Greece and Rome. Throughout the Middle Ages and well into the Modern Era, the classical approach to education was normative. The classical method consists of a “Trivium,” that is three “ways” or “stages” of a child’s elementary and secondary education: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. These are the three disciplines a student, before relatively recent times, would learn before admission to university.

The modern classical and Christian restoration applies the Trivium to courses typically studied in modern schools. Each discipline has a grammar (foundational facts), logic (relationship of parts), and rhetoric (expression). These “stages” are further seen to parallel the way that children learn as they progress from the lower elementary to secondary school and the methods of teaching in each stage are designed to meet these learning patterns. The classical and Christian approach is classical in content by beginning with the classical cultures of Greece and Rome, as well as the Hebrew culture of the Bible, and continuing with the western cultures that stemmed from these. Students read the great books of western civilization as primary sources, preferring primary sources of history to modern text books about the past.

CHRIST-CENTERED CURRICULUM

Classical and Christian educators share the perspective of generations of Christians, from the time of the revelation of Christ, that the incarnate Christ was no other than the Creator and Redeemer of the world. All creation and all history points to Him as the Source and Goal of all that is.

 There is no discipline in which God is irrelevant. In fact, no discipline has relevance apart from the One who created both visible things, like trees, and invisible things, like mathematical or logical principles.

ACADEMIC RIGOR

Classical and Christian educators believe that students respond to their greatest potential when the bar of expectations is set high, not low. Thus, students learn to read extensively from primary sources of all periods of history. For example, the syllabi of our humanities classes at the secondary level resemble those of college courses. Reading and writing standards are set intentionally high. Math and sciences are similarly taught at the honors level with the assumption that students are planning to pursue these disciplines at the post-secondary level. Classical education inculcates mastery of mathematics and scientific concepts as opposed to a “cram, take-the-test, forget, move-on-to-the-next-thing” mentality. Students are held accountable for all the concepts taught over a year of instruction, and even from previous years, in their weekly science and math quizzes.

NURTURING COMMUNITY

It is the teachers that make the most difference.  Our teachers model a life shaped by a classical Christian curriculum.  The teachers embody the education they seek to gift to the children bring it to life and creating a sense of wonder in their students. Jesus tied the second commandment, love our neighbor, to the first, love God. For this reason, classical Christian schools tend to create communities of engaged students, fulfilled teachers, and parents who are excited to be a part of a community where their children are thriving. Classical Christian schools understand their authority as delegated authority from the parents, so parental involvement and input is sought and treasured. The result is a community of teachers, students, and parents who care a lot about each other and work together for the overall fellowship in community experience. 

4720 CLASSICAL WAY, BOZEMAN, MT 59718    |    OFFICE@PETRAACADEMY.COM   |   406.582.8165
4720 CLASSICAL WAY, BOZEMAN, MT 59718 OFFICE@PETRAACADEMY.COM 406.582.8165
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